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Which is better?

The protocol was signed last week after all punch list items were fixed up.

or

The protocol was signed last week after all punch list items had been fixed up.

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    The question was answered after it was asked. – JeffSahol Feb 19 '15 at 16:36
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    They are both ok. The word "after" makes clear the order of events, so the "had been" version is arguably needlessly complex. – Jim Reynolds Feb 19 '15 at 17:08
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    Executive Summary: There is no "sequence of tenses" rule in English. Therefore you can use any tense in any clause, if that's the tense you intend to use. If you come upon a grammar book or website that talks about "sequence of tenses", you will know that it is incompetent and incorrect; don't trust anything from it. – John Lawler Feb 19 '15 at 17:36
  • @daniela, I added an actual question to your post, but I'm not at all sure if it's the question you mean to be asking. Please feel free to edit in additional information regarding what confuses you between the two. – Hellion Feb 19 '15 at 20:04
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    I'm not sure why @JohnLawler claims there is no sequence of tenses in English. That's what I was taught. Nevertheless, while both sentences make sense, the first sounds very colloquial and informal. The second sound much better. – A.Ellett May 21 '15 at 3:32
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The protocol was signed last week after all punch list items were fixed up.

This is not wrong. But it is not as clear as it could be.

Using the same, simple past tense - was and were - for both parts of this statement needlessly obfuscates the order of events (clearly indicated by the use of the word 'after'). The protocol could only be signed after all the punch list items had been fixed up.

  • Please explain the down vote. On it's own it is not helpful or constructive. – Dan Jul 7 '15 at 1:09

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