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My question is closed as off-topic.

First, my question is not so elementary. It is not about the usual use of past perfect as in

When I came up with the idea of climbing all the statues taller than 100m in the world, I had already visited the Statue of Liberty.

My question is

  • How is the past perfect interpreted when it is used with a when-clause referring to a time interval without any other specific time of reference?

For example:

(a) When I was in New York, I had visited the Statue of Liberty.

I know the sentence (b) is more natural than (a).

(b) When I was in New York, I visited the Statue of Liberty.

The following is example sentences from CGEL:

ii(a) He lost his key while he was running home.

ii(b) He had lost his key while he was running home.

These two sentences are considered to have the same meaning in the book. Then, can (a) has the same meaning as (b)? This is my starting point.

Second, my question is not a duplicate of my previous question. The answer there suggests that the past perfect with a when-clause referring to a time interval is appropriate in the following:

My friend asked me about the movie Spartacus. When I lived in Berlin, I had seen the movie thrice. So I could tell him that it was very good!

In this example, the time reference is his friend asking about Spartacus. The past perfect is used because his seeing the movie (the point of event) is anterior to the point of reference. Here the when-clause only works as a supplement.

My new question is not

  • In what context can the sentence (a) be appropriate?

My new question is

  • How is the past perfect interpreted when it is used with a when-clause referring to a time interval without any other specific time of reference?

I believe I have answered the two main reasons of the closure of my question. If there are more reasons to answer, please let me know.

  • Oh yeah, I remember flagging this question. – Black and White Aug 7 '17 at 17:45

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