Past tenses

What's the difference between the two sentences and what do they mean?
When you worked in your last job, Had you had your own office?
When you worked in your last job, Did you have your own office?

Best Answers

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    1-Now does asking with "When" make sense? And in what case could it make sense?

    It makes sense. But it means 'before' so it's better to just write Before.

    2-Also someone (Probably American) would say "Before you worked in your last job, did you have your own office" is this grammatically correct?

    I think it's acceptable in any dialect of English. For me, it suggests
    'Did you have your own office when you worked in the job previous to your last job.'

    With the PAST PERFECT you could be asking
    'Did you have your own office when you worked in any of your jobs previous to your last job.'

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    1-Now does asking with "When" make sense? And in what case could it make sense?

    Yes, it does makes sense — because we understand when to mean 'before' when there's a PAST PERFCT form in the MAIN CLAUSE. It's clearer and sound better to use the word Before, but it's not ungrammatical to use When.

    2-Also someone (Probably American) would say "Before you worked in your last job, did you have your own office" is this grammatically correct?

    I think speakers of other dialects — including British English — would find it perfectly acceptable.

    There's a slight difference in how a hearer/reader might understand the two sentences

    • Before you worked in your last job, did you have your own office?
      This might be understood to refer one job before the last one.

    • Before you worked in your last job, had you had your own office?
      This might be understood to refer all the jobs before the last one.
      (This meaning can be made explicit by using the word ever.)

Answers

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭

    @ShowMoiDwae
    Had you had your own office?
    is asking about before you worked in your last job.
    It suggests that you did have your own office in your last job.

    Did you have your own office?
    is asking about a DEFINITE time in the past —a time that we're already thinking about.
    The only time that this could mean is when you worked at your last job.

    Two changes:

    • Use before instead of when before the PAST PERFECT
    • Don't use UPPER CASE (CAPTAL LETTER) — had not Had, did not Did

    Before you worked in your last job, had you had your own office?
    = 'Was your last job the first one where you had your own office?'

    When you worked in your last job, did you have your own office?
    = 'Did you or didn't you have your own office in your last job?'

  • When you worked in your last job, had you had your own office?
    Before you worked in your last job, had you had your own office?
    Now what's the difference? I understand the second one but not the first
    You said that the first "suggests that you did have your own office in your last job." <<< So I'm asking about a point in time before the last job
    1-Now does asking with "When" make sense? And in what case could it make sense?
    2-Also someone (Probably American) would say "Before you worked in your last job, did you have your own office" is this grammatically correct?
    Thanks for your time.

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