Discussion:
before/when
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a***@gmail.com
2019-01-17 19:45:33 UTC
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1) He had hardly started driving before the trouble with the engine began.
2) He had hardly started driving when the trouble with the engine began.

3) Hardly had he started driving before the trouble with the engine began.
4) Hardly had he started driving when the trouble with the engine began.

Which are grammatical?
Which are idiomatic?

Gratefully,
Navi
David Kleinecke
2019-01-17 22:03:16 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
1) He had hardly started driving before the trouble with the engine began.
2) He had hardly started driving when the trouble with the engine began.
3) Hardly had he started driving before the trouble with the engine began.
4) Hardly had he started driving when the trouble with the engine began.
Which are grammatical?
Which are idiomatic?
(3) and (4) (hardly had) are IMO an idiomatic
construction and (3) feels wrong to me even though (1)
seems to be equivalent to (2).

In any case (4) (and (3)) are "colorful" and to be
avoided in ordinary speech.
Peter T. Daniels
2019-01-17 22:45:49 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
1) He had hardly started driving before the trouble with the engine began.
2) He had hardly started driving when the trouble with the engine began.
3) Hardly had he started driving before the trouble with the engine began.
4) Hardly had he started driving when the trouble with the engine began.
Which are grammatical?
Which are idiomatic?
The difference between 3-4 and 1-2 is rhetorical, stylistic.

"When" seems much better than "before"; "before" gives a feeling of what
Fowler called Changing Horses in Midstream.

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