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had something to eat Options
D00M
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 8:33:58 AM

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Joined: 3/24/2017
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I had something to eat before leaving.
I ate something before leaving.

How do they differ in meaning?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 8:48:00 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

There is no difference in meaning, at all.

"had something to eat" means "ate" or "have eaten".



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
D00M
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 8:59:21 AM

Rank: Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
Posts: 62
Neurons: 520
Thank you.

Do they express the same meaning as the following?

I've eaten something before leaving.

Or, should it be this one:

I had eaten something before leaving.

I got totally confused.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 10:17:45 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 25,238
Neurons: 131,330
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I find it much more natural (for me) to say "before I left", rather than "before leaving".

They would be used in different circumstances, but the overall effect is the same.

I had something to eat before leaving. - you might say this when you visit someone and they ask if you're hungry or would like something to eat.
"No thanks, I had something to eat before I left."

I ate something before leaving. This seems to have more attention on leaving, rather than eating.
"I left at eight-o'-clock and caught the bus. I ate something before I left."

I've eaten something before leaving doesn't sound right - the "before leaving" doesn't fit with the perfect tense. The perfect is used for a past event, but not at a specific time.
"I've eaten something" would be used in the same way as "I had something to eat" - but you CAN use 'before leaving' with the simple past.

"I had eaten something before leaving" would be used more in telling the sequence of events at that time.
The past perfect tense "had eaten" is not necessary, because the sequence is shown by the word "before", but the tense strengthens the sense of time (I think)

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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