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Using the past perfect in "I warmed up before you arrived."

 

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  #1  
Old October 10, 2016, 03:13 PM
dp444 dp444 is offline
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Using the past perfect in "I warmed up before you arrived."

Hello!

¿Debo usar past perfect para decir "I warmed up before you arrived."?

Ex) Me había calentado antes de tú llegaste.

Can I use preterite tense and say the same thing?

Ex) Me calenté antes de tú llegaste.

When do you use the preterite vs past perfect to talk about multiple actions in the past?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old October 10, 2016, 08:00 PM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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I suppose you are asking how to say, "I warmed up before you arrived."
The main verb 'warmed' is conjugated in the preterit tense.

Switching the main verb to the past perfect tense gives us, "I had warmed up before you arrived."

You chose the correct Spanish verb (calentarse), but provided a past perfect translation of a preterit tense in your first example. And you should have used the past perfect tense in your second example, when asking if it meant the same thing.

Depending on where you live in the English-speaking world, you might get two different answers. Some don't see any difference. I do, however.

The same goes for the Spanish-speaking world. Some wouldn't see any difference, but I do.

Either tense is valid, but it depends on where you live which meaning it has.



The imperfect tense is usually used to set the stage for another action that happened in the past (preterit tense).

Me calentaba cuando llegaste.
I was warming up when you arrived. (on-going, repeated, or habitual action)

Me había calentado cuando llegaste.
I had warmed up when you arrived. (on-going, repeated, or habitual action)

Me hube calentado cuando llegaste.
I had warmed up when you arrived. (action completed)

Me calenté cuando llegaste.
I warmed up when you arrived. (action completed)

Now, let's change the event in the secondary clause to something that hasn't happened yet (an anticipated event).
First off, since the subject is changing, we need a conjunction instead of a preposition.
(The preposition 'antes de' needs to become 'antes de que'.)
And, since the event hasn't happened yet, it needs to be cast in the subjunctive mood instead of the indicative. The past tense form of the verb in the secondary clause will be in the same past tense form that was used in the primary clause.

Me había calentado antes de que hubieras llegado.
I had warmed up before you had arrived.

Me calenté antes de que llegaras.
I warmed up before you arrived.

Last edited by Rusty; October 10, 2016 at 08:03 PM.
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  #3  
Old October 11, 2016, 04:46 PM
dp444 dp444 is offline
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Hi Rusty,

Thank you for your detailed response with many example sentences!

I see that:

"Me calenté antes de que tú llegaste." & "Me había calentado antes de que tú llegaste." both convey the idea that "I" was finished warming up (in the context of exercise) prior to "You" arriving.

I guess the real difference between the sentences is a bit nuanced. It would be like me explaining the difference between "I warmed up before you arrived" and "I had warmed up before you arrived" to a person learning English.
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Old October 11, 2016, 05:32 PM
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The sentences you just used are not grammatically correct. The subjunctive mood must be used after 'antes de que'. Have a look at what I said about anticipated events.
And there's no need to add ''. The person is already conveyed by the verb ending. Adding the second-person subject pronoun is giving emphasis to the person.
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Old October 11, 2016, 07:22 PM
dp444 dp444 is offline
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hmm,

okay let's go with:

Me calenté antes de llegaste.
Me había calentado antes de llegaste.

And the conjunction "antes de que" has to be followed by a subjunctive phrase.

Me caliento antes de que llegues. (I'll warm up before you arrive).
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Old October 11, 2016, 08:00 PM
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You can't use a conjugated verb after a preposition. A noun follows a preposition.
If you're going to use a prepositional phrase, most would say 'before your arrival'.

Me calenté antes de tu llegada.
Me había calentado antes de tu llegada.
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Old October 12, 2016, 10:56 AM
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@dp444: Go through Rusty's explanations again and check his examples with "antes de que + subjunctive". That's the only correct way to express what you want to say with the conjugated verb. It cannot be used in the preterite and it cannot be used without the conjunction "que". Since your sentence is written in the past, then the corresponding subjunctive is also in the past: "llegaras".
The alternative is, as his last examples show, with a noun instead of the verb.
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