I am studying B2 grammar. In the book I am using (I don't know if I should name the actual book here) there is a bullet-point which reads "Nachdem immer mit Plusquamperfect". Then there are some execises, one of the exercises gives the answer as:

Sie können den Akku ins Akkufach legen, nachdem Sie die Rückseite geöffnet haben

People I've asked tell me the answer is correct so, as the answer is in the Perfekt, it would seem that Nachdem is not always Plusquampertfekt. Is this a mistake in the book or am I not understanding correctly.


Nachdem simply sets an order of events.

Wir redeten weiter, nachdem wir gegessen hatten.

Wir redeten nach dem Essen weiter.

This is narration. The main tense is Präteritum, and events before the main line of the story are put in Plusquamperfekt.

Wir reden weiter, nachdem wir gegessen haben.

Wir reden nach dem Essen weiter.

Here, we are at the present, and reden weiter is something happening in the future, while gegessen haben is something happening now or in the future, but before reden weiter. You cannot use Plusquamperfekt here.


In most course books for German (esp. DaF) is written that you have to use a perfect tense form a step back from what follows, e.g.

Wir reden weiter, nachdem wir gegessen haben. (Präsens - Präsens Perfekt resp.)

or, as both events in the sequence usually tend to have occured in the past,

Wir redeten weiter, nachdem wir gegessen hatten. (Präteritum - Plusquamperfekt resp., the classical example from the course book)

depending on the temporary position of the main clause (here: wir reden weiter/wir redeten weiter), the first corresponding Present Continous in English grammar and referring either to present or future situation

However, modern German goes somewhat beyond and combinations of Present Perfekt and Präteritum are typical for a sequence of events in the past, as one tends not to use Past Perfect (Plusquamperfect) in der Umgangssprache at all:

Nachdem wir unsere Zimmer bezogen haben, machten wir uns auf den Weg, um einen Strandspaziergang zu machen.

Colloquial German often simply ignores the prespription of the course books to use different tenses for a sequence of events with nachdem and uses perfect for both, e.g.

Nachdem wir uns beschwert haben , haben sie wenigstens gestaubsaugt

It is also possible to put both in Präteritum, it would sound somewhat South German or seem to be an attempt at literary writing, e.g. an essay "how I spent my summer".

Nachdem wir aufwachten, machten wir uns an die köstliche Morgenmahlzeit

As for the book having a mistake or not, it all comes down to the purpose of the book and the limitations of its size/its target audience. If this is a book preparing your for a language test at your school somewhere abroad, or probably even some international language test, this is not a mistake but trying to teach you pass the exam using "correct" "book" German. If this was an elaborate 2000 paged grammar of contemporary German, I would find this to be a mistake.


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