1) I’ll stand by our position on the present progressive. Note that in the example you’re referring to, we are dealing with a simple present progressive, as in “I am going to work tomorrow.” However, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an SC that used “going to” to indicate the future, either.
2) I’m not sure there’s a disagreement here. Be careful about saying “MGMAT says this is OK, and Veritas
doesn’t” unless you’ve seen us write about the same sentence. Our book doesn’t state that you can drop past perfect if the sequence is clear. Rather, it says that past perfect is unnecessary if the earlier action does not have a direct bearing on the later action. In the case of your sentence, John stopped being poor when he won the lottery, so one clearly has a bearing on the other. Therefore, we should use the past perfect:Before John won the lottery, he had been a poor locksmith.
However, let’s consider the following: Before John won the lottery, he published a book of poems.
In this case, the sequence is no more or less clear than before, but we can drop the past perfect, because there is no connection between the poems and the lottery. He didn’t stop publishing the book because he won the lottery.
One more:Before John started writing for the movies, he had published a book of poems.
Here, there is a connection between the two events. The publication of the book of poems provides a background for John’s work in the movies. The past perfect is justified again. If we left it out ("Before John started writing for the movies, he published a book of poems."), the sentence wouldn't be as clear. It almost indicates that he published the book directly before
his work on the movies, perhaps as preparation. The past perfect establishes that the prior event was simply accomplished, at some point in the past (perhaps 20 years prior, for all we know), when the later action happened.
In the link below, our instructor Ron Purewal describes the past perfect in terms of “completion and relevance.” The action is not just over; it’s also relevant to the later event. I think that's a tidy way to remember this principle. http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/pas ... t7698.html
Dmitry Farber | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | New York
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