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Just wondering if nachdem is the only preposition which induces a change in the tenses:

Nachdem wir gegessen hatten, bin ich nach Hause gefahren.

As far as I know, here it wouldn't be correct to keep both sentences with the same grammatical tense:

Nachdem wir gegessen haben, bin ich nach Hause gefahren. ← falsch(?)

  • Is this true?
  • Is nachdem the only preposition which needs this consecutio temporum?

For instance, the original sentence would be quite the same as:

Bevor ich nach Hause gefahren bin, haben wir gegessen.

Shouldn't I use here Plusquamperfekt in the subordinate clausule for sake of consistency? Or is this last sentence wrong?

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I would say that the example "Nachdem wir gegessen haben, bin ich..." is maybe not 100% correct but not unheard of... I think the notion of perfectiveness makes it bearable. Anyway, it really doesn't work for the present "Nachdem ich esse schlafe ich." so... nice question –  Emanuel Nov 6 '13 at 17:06
    
@Emanuel You can also use it for present: "Nachdem ich esse, werde ich schlafen." If you prefer a perfect tense in the nachdem-clause, then present if of course not possible, but present perfect is: "Nachdem ich gegessen habe, werde ich schlafen." –  Toscho Nov 6 '13 at 18:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Consecutio temporum was part of the German gramma and therefore is kept as such by some people. (See its German wikipedia entry for that.) In the usual language (in spoken rather than written), it can be used but is neither required nor expected. So, as long as you don't use a relatively future tense for the relatively past tense, it's more or less up to you, what you choose:

Nachdem wir gegessen hatten, bin ich nach Hause gefahren. → OK

Nachdem wir gegessen haben, bin ich nach Hause gefahren. → OK

Nachdem wir gegessen haben, fahre ich nach Hause. → OK

Nachdem wir aßen, bin ich nach Hause gefahren. → OK (Sounds a little bit strange, but the usual speaker wouldn't grasp what's different to the usual strangeness of Preterite.)

Nachdem wir aßen, fuhr ich nach Hause. → OK

Nachdem wir essen, fahre ich nach Hause. → OK

Nachdem wir essen, fuhr ich nach Hause. → not OK

Nachdem wir essen, bin ich nach Hause gefahren. → not OK

Nachdem wir gegessen haben, war ich nach Hause gefahren. → even that is OK, because Plusquamperfekt isn't used in usual language, so nobody would mind.

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Nachdem wir essen, fahre ich nach Hause is ok? I don't think it is, at least it sounds rather (very!!) strange to me. Nachdem references an action from the past, so the correct (even though unusual) construct should be Nachdem wir gegessen haben werden, werde ich nach Hause fahren (fahre ich nach Hause). You can, however, say Nach dem Essen fahre ich nach Hause. –  Thorsten Dittmar Nov 8 '13 at 14:59

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