I had to take out a loan after my mom <gave up> <had given up> her job.


I had to take out a loan after my mom gave up her job vs I had to take out a loan after my mom had given up her job. Which of these sentences is correct? Both of them sound fine to me, however, I was taught at school that an action which happened earlier should be expressed in the Past Perfect.
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You were taught well, but in practice the past perfect is often not used where the time sequence is obvious, and "after" is rather a special case as it is clear that event in the "after" clause precedes the other clause, regardless of which order the clauses are written in.


    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Then when do you use past tense? All uses of the past tense are actions which happened before now, aren't they?
    It seems the OP is using "earlier" to the guidance referring to meaning "earlier than some past event", not "earlier than now".
    Going back in time:
    Now ....I had to take out a loan ... my mum had given up her job


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I made a mistake, in my earlier post. I was thinking present perfect when OP said past perfect. I deleted my post.

    I agree with the comments in post #2. Past perfect is correct, but often we use the simple past.

    Note that OP's example sentence uses "after" to mean "after and because of". Because my mother gave up her job, I had to take out a loan. That "because of" implication is an important meaning in the sentence. The sentence isn't using "after" just to describe a time ordering. The sentence isn't saying "my mother gave up her job, which coincidentally was earlier than the time I had to take a loan out".
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