Which of the following two passages is correct? If both, which sounds better to you?
1. "After we had eaten we went into the lounge and discussed his idea. Before long the clock STRUCK twelve and it was time for me to leave."
2. "After we had eaten we went into the lounge and discussed his idea. Before long the clock HAD STRUCK twelve and it was time for me to leave."
Thanks a lot! I would really appreciate your help.
Though certainly no expert, I'm going to have to say that the second one is correct while the first is used more frequently..... Or perhaps both are correct.
By "correct", I mean whether they sound OK to a native speaker.
The first sounds perfectly fine to me, and, now that I think of it, is probably the correct one. The second sounds kind of awkward.
The first one is what I would say (and I am a native American English-speaker).
But like BenIII said, the first one sounds grammatically correct.
Thanks for your answer, BenIII. What nationality are you?
Clark: I'm guessing you meant "the SECOND one sounds grammatically correct"?
They're both wrong. You wouldn't write "STRUCK" or "HAD STRUCK" in capitals ... just kidding.
I'd say they are both correct but mean slightly different things. I think it depends on whether you had to leave at twelve or a bit after twelve. If you had to leave at twelve, use the first. If it was after twelve that you had to leave, use the second. However, people wouldn't usually be that precise about the time they have to leave someone's place so you wouldn't necessarily interpret the first sentence in the literal sense. Usually you'd use the first sentence to mean that you had to leave about twelve.
I believe that both are gramatically correct, but they mean subtly different things. In the first sentence, the time at which you had to leave was just at the time the clock struck (as if the clock striking was your cue to leave). In the second sentence, the clock had struck at some point, and then at some later point, it was time for you to leave.
Yeah, that's what I think too. I don't know if I expressed it as lucidly as Jacob.
Here are the rules for the past perfect:
It is used when talking about TWO things that have happened in the past, but one has happened before the other.
(one action) - The clock has struck twelve.
(two comparative) - The clock had struck twelve before I entered the room.
The man has eaten breakfast.
The man had eaten breakfast before he read the newspaper.
Yeah Tom, I meant the second one is grammatically correct.
The "had struck" is the pluperfect (I am guessing this is "past perfect;" sorry, I know my tense only by their French names). But one of the interesting parts about English is that one can use the pluperfect and past tense almost interchangeably.
Thank you BenIII, Jim, Clark, and Jacob for your answers!