In the book which I use to prepare for the IELTS exam they have the following sentence:

The situation remained unchanged for the next two years until more universities were opened.

I do not understand why remained, not had remained is correct.

First happened the situation and only then the universities...

  • 3
    You don't need to use the past perfect when the events are in chronological order, or if the order of events is clear for some other reason (in this case, because of the word until). You can if you want to, but we usually don't use it unless we want to emphasize the order of events. – Peter Shor May 31 '16 at 12:55
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    @PeterShor correct me if I'm wrong, but from my observation there are some verbs which already contain the aspect as part of their meaning, and usually, they will not appear in any tense but the "simple" tense, like stop, remain, cease, continue etc. in this case, the past perfect is unnecessary as "remain" expresses the "perfect" aspect as part of its meaning. – David Haim Nov 8 '17 at 10:52
  • Because the point of view is first chronologically, firmly established by 'the next two years'. The perfect would not be used in this case. Change 'next' to 'following' and you have a situation where the point of view isn't explicitly located. The past perfect could then be used to locate the point of view later than the following two year period. – Phil Sweet Nov 10 '17 at 2:08
  • Adding "had" doesn't change correctness of the grammar. Adding "had" does change the sentence from active to passive. It's simply unnecessary to do it, and writers are encouraged to use active over passive since it is clearer; more concise; direct. One could change the sentence to passive with adding "had" since the subject "The situation" is not clear. Passive voice merely shifts emphasis away from the subject, allowing the reader to focus on what's after the subject to be more important or equally important. – Steve B053 Feb 26 '19 at 15:13
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    @Steve B053: Adding “had” does not change the sentence from active to passive voice; it changes the verb from simple past to past perfect (simple) tense. – Adhemar Aug 8 '19 at 19:56

Original: The situation remained unchanged for the next two years until more universities were opened.

"Had remained" refers to the earlier of two completed events in the past.

"For the next two years" refers to the "future" from that past point in time, so the context doesn't support the use of the past perfect tense.

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