...until he had corrected the situation.

“This so bothered David that he couldn’t sleep until he “had corrected” the situation.”

I saw this sentence on the Internet. I am wondering why the past perfect tense is used here instead of the simple past tense? (Because I am thinking, logically, the moment he couldn’t sleep happened first, then, the moment he ‘corrected’ the situation happened later. )

Thanks.

Even speaking in a mathematical manner, David still cannot fell asleep at the same point he corrects the situation in any event: he had to enter a sleeping state, say, at least a couple of seconds after he had corrected whatever situation. On the basis of this understanding and “not X until Y” = not X before Y but not not X after Y = not X before Y but X after Y, the original is fine and equivalent to:

“This so bothered David that he couldn’t sleep before he corrected the situation, but he could sleep [=not (couldn’t sleep)] after he had corrected the situation.”

My opinion

The sentence sounds correct to me.

I am thinking about the alternatives.

This bothered David the way that he couldn’t sleep until he had corrected the situation.
This bothered David the way that he couldn’t sleep until he had had the situation corrected.
This bothered David the way that he couldn’t sleep until having had the situation corrected.

“the way that he couldn’t sleep until he had corrected the situation.” could be an adverb of manner.
Is it?

No. Your alternatives are grammatically incorrect.

Unless “the way” is changed to “such” or nothing.

That would be incorrect too. It would need to be changed to ‘so much’.

Such an expression is often used in technical writing as: A does B such that C can do D = A does B to such an extent that C can do D.

That is nebulous to say the least. I haven’t the foggiest what A or B or C (or “to do” for that matter) are supposed to mean.
Can you provide a real example where you saw the word “such” used the way you described?

Hi OTS and Rockyrocky,

Counting sheep is supposed to send you to sleep and so do ‘mathematical’ constructions. Anyhow, what about Rickyrocky’s question? I suggest that the past perfect in the sentence is acceptable because ‘sleep’ followed ‘correction’. In other words he was not able to sleep until he had previously corrected the situation.

Alan

Hi Alan,

Couldn’t agree more! :))

Hi,
Pardon my ignorance, I still don’t really get the concept of it.

Let’s look at the timeline:
He wasn’t able to sleep at first, then, he corrected the situation, after that, he slept.

Therefore, looking at the timeline, shouldn’t it be: “He hadn’t been able to sleep until he corrected the situation”?

Thanks.

Hi,

We could go on all day with this! I see ‘correction’ first then ‘sleep’. Aren’t you saying the same thing?

Alan

Thanks.