while there <was still> <had still been> time

Sasha Ivanov

Senior Member
Russian
You should have thought of that while there was still time!
Stephen King - Cell.
My question is purely hypothetical:
How would the meaning change if we said "while there had been still time"?
How would the two situations be different?
And let me explain why. Deciding whetherto use or not use Pluperfect is always very difficult for me, so I have come up with two rules I apply to every Pluperfect 1) it's there because it had already been done 2) if it was not there it would mean it always was like that.
But in this case "was" is used, like time always was there. I think time was there for some time, and by the time of speech it had ended, so the author should have used "while there had still been time" in my logic. Where am I wrong? Thank you.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The still is in the wrong place, and it’s really not idiomatic.

    You should have done that while there was still time! :tick: (a straightforward past reference)
    You should have done that while there had still been time! :thumbsdown::confused::eek:
     
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