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"We couldn't put down the floor until the plumber HAD finished."

When 'finished' would do the same job much more perfectly instead of confusing.

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  • Did you check here for other instances of this question? I wonder if the plumber finishing was BEFORE the putting down, so we are talking about two different times, both in the past? – GEdgar Apr 11 '20 at 23:23
  • It seems to be the reported speech of say, They said, “You cannot put down the floor, until the plumber has finished.” In the reported speech, it becomes, They said that we couldn’t put down the floor until the plumber had finished.” If this is not the case, …until the plumber finished… makes sense. – Ram Pillai Apr 12 '20 at 0:27
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In general, both (a) and (b) are possible.

a. We couldn't put down the floor until the plumber finished.

b. We couldn't put down the floor until the plumber had finished.

If you started putting down the floor right after the plumber was done, I think either (a) or (b) works. But (a) is simpler, so you might want to go with (a).

If you didn't start putting down the floor right after the plumber was done, but you waited some time in between, I think only (b) works.

Since we do the flooring and the plumber does the plumbing, the second scenario is more likely to fit the sentence. In that case, (b) is better, despite the more complex form.

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