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I've found the following sentence here:

I had been enjoying the sunshine and blue sky of the day but as soon as we push open the door of the hangar, that pleasure ends brutally.

Is simple present grammatically valid here? I guess the whole sentence designates a transition from continuing past to the point of eye-witness experience conveyed by simple present. Am I right?

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If you look at the context, the question is not whether simple present is valid, but whether present perfect progressive is valid. –  Peter Shor Apr 28 '12 at 17:38
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes: as you say, the simple present implies events "unfolding in front of the narrator's eyes", whereas the pluperfect implies anteriority to another event time in the past. So there's a shift of narrative viewpoint part way through the sentence. But that's all right.

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It might even, to refer to another question, be alright. –  Barrie England Apr 28 '12 at 18:56
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Your phrase "I had been enjoying..." is in past perfect continuous, also known as past perfect progressive. However, as Peter Shor notes in a comment, the context calls for present perfect continuous: "I have been enjoying...". This is because enjoyment or pleasure continues up to the present moment, when you push open the door. Thus,

I have been enjoying the sunshine and blue sky of the day, but as soon as we push open the door of the hangar, that pleasure ends.

is appropriate for a present-tense statement, or

I had been enjoying the sunshine and blue sky of the day, but as soon as we pushed open the door of the hangar, that pleasure ended.

for a past-tense statement.

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I don't see the first of your examples. I think it could be: "I have been enjoying the sunshine and blue sky of the day, but as soon as we push open the door of the hangar, that pleasure will end." Or maybe: "I am enjoying the sunshine and blue sky of the day, but as soon as we push open the door of the hangar, that pleasure ends." –  JLG Apr 28 '12 at 18:53
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jwpat7 is right in saying that the normal sequence of verb forms would require the past tense after ‘as soon as’, but you are also right in your analysis in this particular case.

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Are you sure that jwpat7 has said that the normal sequence of verb forms would require the past tense after ‘as soon as’. It seems to me that I have said that! –  user19148 Apr 28 '12 at 18:10
    
@Carlo_R.: He has said that 'I had been enjoying the sunshine and blue sky of the day, but as soon as we pushed open the door of the hangar, that pleasure ended' is appropriatate for a past tense statement. Even if I've misinterpreted what either he or you said, I stand by the point I made in my answer. –  Barrie England Apr 28 '12 at 18:17
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Yes, it is. You should consider that "we push"—and "that pleasure ends brutally"— come after "as soon as."

"I had been enjoying ..." is the main clause, while "as soon as we push open ..." is the subordinate clause.

When a subordinate clause is introduced by "as soon as" we use the simple present if that is referred to the future or to the future in the past. Future in the past is your case because "we push ..." takes place after "I had been enjoying ..."

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