Later on I <had gone><went> to the bank

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JJXR

Senior Member
Russian
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


Context:

John asks Bill "Did you go to the supermarket today?" to which Bill replies with one of the sentences below.

Sample sentences:

1. Yes, but before that I had dropped the kids off at school. H'm... Later on I had gone to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning.

2. Yes, but before that I had dropped the kids off at school. H'm... Later on I went to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning.

Sequence of events:

Sentence #1:

(1) Bill dropped the kids off at school.
(2) Bill went to the bank.
(3) Bill fed the dog.
(4) Bill picked up the dry cleaning.
(5) Bill went to the supermarket.


Sentence #2:

(1) Bill dropped the kids off at school.
(2) Bill went to the supermarket.
(3) Bill went to the bank.
(4) Bill fed the dog.
(5) Bill picked up the dry cleaning.


Question:

Does changing "had gone" to "went" in sample sentences #1 and #2 change the sequence of events? Do I understand the sequence of events correctly?


Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

Regards,
JJXR
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    You are over-thinking the matter.

    The sequence of events is dictated by the time phrases in your sentences: before that, Later on, then, finally.

    1. is wrong
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    It seems a little ambiguous. Every time you create a time frame you change the point of reference so you can get lost if there are two main time frames. Here, in sentence 1, you are shifting from John's initial frame to Bill's secondary one (dropping the kids off). Then, you're going to what Bill did after that. Instinctively I would put the rest of the sentence in the simple past. Try this:

    1. Yes, but before that I had dropped the kids off at school. H'm... I had also gone to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning.

    That's a little clearer. Still awkward, a bit, however.

    Good point by Paul.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I think it's "later on" which confuses the issue in version (1), because it creates a doubt in my mind as to whether feeding the dog and picking up the cleaning means later than the visit to the supermarket or not. If you want it to describe the order of events in the scenario then I'd suggest pluperfects all the way through but using Redwood's idea of replacing "later on" with "also":
    1a) Yes, but before that I had dropped the kids off at school. H'm... I had also gone to the bank, [then] fed the dog, and [finally] picked up the dry cleaning. :)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    As written, I would suggest no past perfect at all — especially if it’s intended as natural dialogue, recounting the day’s events.

    Did you go to the supermarket today?

    Yes, but before that I dropped the kids off at school. H'm... Later on I went to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning.


    OR, more naturally: Yes, after I’d dropped the kids off at school. ……​
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you all for the responses.
    Context:

    John asks Bill "Did you go to the supermarket today?" to which Bill replies with one of the sentences below.
    2. Yes, but before that I had dropped the kids off at school. H'm... Later on I went to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning.
    Sentence #2:

    (1) Bill dropped the kids off at school.
    (2) Bill went to the supermarket.
    (3) Bill went to the bank.
    (4) Bill fed the dog.
    (5) Bill picked up the dry cleaning.
    Which implies:

    After (1) Bill had dropped the kids off at school, (2) he went to the supermarket.

    After (2) Bill had gone to the supermarket, (3), (4), and (5) happened.

    Is this the correct interpretation of sentence #2?
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, lingobingo.

    Do the words "later on" imply "after going to the supermarket", or do they imply "after dropping the kids off at school"?

    Or are they ambiguous and can imply both?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It does not read ambiguously to me. Are you trying to be ambiguous?

    Later on means after whatever has already been stated, which here is the school run followed by the shopping. Three more things are then listed, with “finally” added for the last of them.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Context:

    John asks Bill "Did you go to the supermarket today?" to which Bill replies with one of the sentences below.

    Sample sentences:

    1. Yes, but before that I had dropped the kids off at school. H'm... Later on I had gone to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning.
    Sentence #1 is a mess. "Later on" and "then" would normally be after the trip to the supermarket, but what event is the trip to the bank supposed to precede?
    2. Yes, but before that I had dropped the kids off at school. H'm... Later on I went to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning.
    This makes more sense, but it is not entirely clear either. There is no need for "had" before "dropped".
    Sequence of events:

    Sentence #1:

    (1) Bill dropped the kids off at school.
    (2) Bill went to the bank.
    (3) Bill fed the dog.
    (4) Bill picked up the dry cleaning.
    (5) Bill went to the supermarket.
    If this is the meaning you want, sentence #1 should not say "later on":

    1'. Yes, after I dropped the kids off at school. ... Oh, and after I went to the bank, fed the dog, and picked up the dry cleaning.
    Sentence #2:

    (1) Bill dropped the kids off at school.
    (2) Bill went to the supermarket.
    (3) Bill went to the bank.
    (4) Bill fed the dog.
    (5) Bill picked up the dry cleaning.
    If you need to mention all those events, you need to connect them together. "Later on" does not really work as a connector:

    2'. Yes, after I dropped the kids off at school. ... Oh, and before I went to the bank, fed the dog, and picked up the dry cleaning.
     
    Last edited:

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the responses, lingobingo and Forero.
    Sentence #1 is a mess. "Later on" and "then" would normally be after the trip to the supermarket, but what event is the trip to the bank supposed to precede?
    In sentence #1, the trip to the bank precedes going to the supermarket. Below is my reasoning ("=" means "is equivalent to"):
    1. Yes, but before that I had dropped the kids off at school. H'm... Later on I had gone to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning.
    Sentence #1:

    (1) Bill dropped the kids off at school.
    (2) Bill went to the bank.
    (3) Bill fed the dog.
    (4) Bill picked up the dry cleaning.
    (5) Bill went to the supermarket.
    I used the past perfect "had gone" in sentence #1 to make it clear that the reference point for the words "later on" are the words "had dropped the kids off at school":

    I went to the bank later than dropping the kids off at school but earlier than going to the supermarket.
    =
    I went to the supermarket. But before that I had dropped the kids off at school. Later on I had gone to the bank.

    The words "had gone to the bank" set up a time frame and therefore are the reference point for the words "then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning." There's no need to repeat the past perfect further in the sentence because the time frame has already been set.
    2. Yes, but before that I had dropped the kids off at school. H'm... Later on I went to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning.
    Sentence #2:

    (1) Bill dropped the kids off at school.
    (2) Bill went to the supermarket.
    (3) Bill went to the bank.
    (4) Bill fed the dog.
    (5) Bill picked up the dry cleaning.
    With the past simple "went" (which I used in sentence #2), the reference point for the words "later on" are the words "I went to the supermarket":

    I went to the bank later than both dropping the kids off at school and going to the supermarket.
    =
    I went to the supermarket. But before that I had dropped the kids off at school. Later on I went to the bank.

    The words "I went to the bank" are the reference point for the words "then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning."
     
    Last edited:

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I'm struggling a bit here to understand why you want to present the tasks in anything other than a straightforward chronological order? What I suspect most native speakers would say is something like:

    1b) Yes, but before that I had to drop the kids off at school, go to the bank, then feed the dog, and finally pick up the dry cleaning.

    2b) Yes, but I had to drop the kids off at school first. Afterwards I went to the bank, then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning. :)
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, DonnyB.
    I'm struggling a bit here to understand why you want to present the tasks in anything other than a straightforward chronological order?
    Because I want to understand how the logic behind presenting events in reverse chronological order works.
    What I suspect most native speakers would say is something like:
    But this is a matter of style. Presenting events in reverse chronological order is also a possibility.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I want to understand how the logic behind presenting events in reverse chronological order works.
    But you haven’t presented them in chronological order, either forwards or backwards. As always, you’re just distorting the logical and idiomatic way of saying something.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Before taking out the cooked cake out of the oven, I [had] put the tin into the oven at 200 deg C; I [had] already put the mixture, composed of flour, butter, eggs and milk that I had previously beaten together, into that tin. I [had] bought the flour, butter, eggs and milk that morning at the supermarket after I had taken the kids to school.
     
    Last edited:

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Thanks for the responses, lingobingo and Forero.

    In sentence #1, the trip to the bank precedes going to the supermarket. Below is my reasoning ("=" means "is equivalent to"):

    I used the past perfect "had gone" in sentence #1 to make it clear that the reference point for the words "later on" are the words "had dropped the kids off at school":

    I went to the bank later than dropping the kids off at school but earlier than going to the supermarket.
    =
    I went to the supermarket. But before that I had dropped the kids off at school. Later on I had gone to the bank.
    Unfortunately, "later on" does not make anything clear. It could be later than most anything.
    The words "had gone to the bank" set up a time frame and therefore are the reference point for the words "then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning."
    Perfect aspect is not good at setting up a time frame. You seem to mean after something and before something, but after what and before what are both unclear in sentence #1.
    There's no need to repeat the past perfect further in the sentence because the time frame has already been set.
    This is usually true, but your "time frame"s are all over the place.
    With the past simple "went" (which I used in sentence #2), the reference point for the words "later on" are the words "I went to the supermarket":

    I went to the bank later than both dropping the kids off at school and going to the supermarket.
    =
    I went to the supermarket. But before that I had dropped the kids off at school. Later on I went to the bank.

    The words "I went to the bank" are the reference point for the words "then I fed the dog, and finally I picked up the dry cleaning."
    I can almost work out what you mean in sentence #2, but "later on" is still unclear.
     
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