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The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land

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The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2013, 08:43
12
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A
B
C
D
E

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19% (00:56) correct 81% (01:17) wrong based on 1767 sessions

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The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land first appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is another ocean in the sky, above the firmament.

(A) appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is
(B) appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is
(C) appeared when the Creator separating the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is
(D) had appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was
(E) appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was



One of the trickier verb-form topics on the GMAT is Sequence of Tenses. For a detailed discussion of this topic, as well as an explanation of the practice question above, see this post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/sequence-o ... orrection/
Mike :-)

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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2014, 14:01
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srinjoy28 wrote:
Good day Mike,
I have little problem with this SC question. I marked option E, thinking the structure as 2 separate events, with past perfect <had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, >,,,,and simple past < that there was....>...
I don't understand, why we need "had appeared", in option D, instead of simply "appeared", as in option E...
Thanks in advance...

gmatter0913 wrote:
I marked E and I am surprised that the answer is D. Waiting for a stunning explanation from Mike...

Dear srinjoy28 and gmatter0913,
To be honest, this question has gone through several revisions internally, making the differences much more clear between right and wrong answers. I am no longer super-happy about the version that is posted here.

Technically, the issue is sequence of tenses, which governs tense rules in indirect speech. You can read the rules here.
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/sequence-o ... orrection/

The difference between (D) and (E) in this version is too slight and nit-picky to be a good GMAT question. Here's version (D)
The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land first had appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was another ocean in the sky, above the firmament.
The people with these beliefs are in the past, which is why "believed" is in the past tense. Anything that was a past event from their perspective should be in the past perfect in indirect speech. Both "appeared" and "separated" are in the past of the people who had these beliefs; therefore, both these verbs should be in the past perfect tense.
By contrast, the existence of the second ocean, above the firmament, would have been a present event for the folks who had these beliefs. In other words, if we went back in a time machine and interviewed them, they would say, "God separated the waters and dry land appeared a long time ago, but right now, as we speak, there's another ocean up there above the firmament." Anything that is present tense for the people who held those beliefs must be in the simple past tense in indirect speech. That's why there's a tense difference between the first two verbs and the last.

You see, the funny thing is --- if multiple events happen at different times, but all in the past for the speaker or for the person who held the beliefs, then all of those events at different times, have the same tense: past perfect. This much is the same as any ordinary use of past perfect --- if there is a series of past events, and we are comparing all the earlier ones to the most recent, then the most recent is in the past, and all those previous events at different times are lumped into the past perfect.
By the time Michelangelo painted the Last Judgement, he has already done X, had carved Y, and had painted Z.
Those events, X, Y, and Z might be separated by decades, but they are all in the past with respect to the main focus, the Last Judgement.

Furthermore, the action of "separating" and the action of "appearing" --- did they really happen at different times? or were they, for all intents and purposes, simultaneous? Did dry land appear the moment that the waters were separated?? Of course, for this, we would have to have a detailed understanding of the philosophical worldview involved. I point out, though, it's at least possible that these two are simultaneous, which is another good reason for them to have the same tense as each other.

So, those are technical reasons why (D) is better than (E), though once again, we have revised this question a few times, and I am no longer happy to this earlier unrevised version.

Mike :-)
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 14 May 2014, 08:42
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Posting the explanation from Magoosh

Here, we have an interesting variant on indirect speech, a “that”-clause about belief. Both of the first two verbs, to appear and to separate, refer to actions that occurred at the Creation of the World, presumably a past event for anyone speaking about it. In indirect speech, these both should be in the past perfect, “had appeared” and “had separated“. Only (D) has both of these.
The last verb, a form of the verb to be, describes a current condition of the world (at least in this ancient worldview), so this would have been a present tense verb to anyone speaking about it, and in indirect speech, present becomes past, so this should be “there was”, which is correct in both (D) & (E).
The only possible answer is (D).
- See more at: http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/sequence-o ... geiqc.dpuf

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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2013, 10:54
rrkan wrote:
Can you please answer: If you have "and" and a "comma" between two clauses then the two clauses should be independent.

I have two sentences
I ate breakfast
I went to school.


I ate breakfast, and I went to school.
So what I am saying if there is and a comma -- The two sentences should be independent clauses.
This i read in MGMAT SC book chapter 10 -- odds & Ends strategy. Is this right ????

Well, that's a bit simplistic, because sentences can be considerably more complicated than those you quoted. For example,
While he was still a student, and before he had published any significant papers, Einstein began to ponder the ideas that lead to Relativity.
Notice, there we have a comma + "and" construction, but it joins two subordinate clauses, not two independent clauses. It's true that "and" links things in parallel, so it would not link one subordinate clause to one independent clause --- it would have to link like-to-like. In my sentence at the top of this thread, the two subordinate "that"-clauses are linked by the word "and."
It's absolutely true that you can't just stick two independent clauses next to each other separated by a comma splice ----
I ate breakfast, I went to school.
That's a run-on sentence. See
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/run-on-sen ... questions/
It's absolutely true that, to avoid a run-on sentence, you need to join two independent clauses with the word "and" as well as a comma. BUT, from that, you cannot conclude that all clauses joined by "and" + comma have to be independent. In more complicated sentences, you can join two subordinate clauses by "and" + comma as well.
Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2014, 16:30
mikemcgarry wrote:
The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land first appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is another ocean in the sky, above the firmament.
(A) appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is
(B) appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is
(C) appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is
(D) had appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was
(E) appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was


One of the trickier verb-form topics on the GMAT is Sequence of Tenses. For a detailed discussion of this topic, as well as an explanation of the practice question above, see this post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/sequence-o ... orrection/
Mike :-)


Mike is it me or are A and C identical?
If so, how can this be?
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Mar 2014, 09:33
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jlgdr wrote:
Mike is it me or are A and C identical?
If so, how can this be?
Cheers
J

Dear jlgdr,
How can this be? Every one makes mistakes: that's how! I tweaked the choices, so they are no longer identical here. I'm surprised no one caught this earlier. Within Magoosh, this questions has undergone several rounds of revisions, and looks very little like this original form at this point.
Mike :-)
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Apr 2014, 06:59
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Good day Mike,
I have little problem with this SC question. I marked option E, thinking the structure as 2 separate events, with past perfect <had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, >,,,,and simple past < that there was....>...
I don't understand, why we need "had appeared", in option D, instead of simply "appeared", as in option E...
Thanks in advance...
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2014, 18:54
Mike, very much appreciate your in-depth explanations.

I have always been a bit shaky on when the past perfect is required vs when it can be used.

if choice (A) instead read:

(A) appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was

would it be preferable over (D)?

is it valid to assume that the creation of land predated the existence of the ancient civilization?
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2014, 09:17
m3equals333 wrote:
Mike, very much appreciate your in-depth explanations.

I have always been a bit shaky on when the past perfect is required vs when it can be used.

if choice (A) instead read:

(A) appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was

would it be preferable over (D)?

is it valid to assume that the creation of land predated the existence of the ancient civilization?

Dear m3equals333,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

We don't need to have an in-depth knowledge of this ancient worldview, but I think we can agree that there had to be an Earth in the first place before anyone could form a civilization on the Earth. The creation of land absolutely had to happen before anyone started farming or hunting or building houses or anything, so the formation of a civilization absolutely had to come later.

Therefore, that version of (A) is not correct. Everything associated with Creation had to be in the past of the folks who believed this worldview, because by the time they had these beliefs, they were already standing on an Earth that was already in existence. That's why both "appeared" and "separated" must be in the past perfect. I recommend reading this blog:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/sequence-o ... orrection/

Mike :-)
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2014, 13:02
I have a doubt on the usage of 'was' instead of 'is' in the option D & E for the post at the Magoosh Blog..Does it not result in a change of meaning intended?

People believed that there is another ocean in the sky
People believed that there was another ocean in the sky


Ty
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2014, 14:37
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JusTLucK04 wrote:
I have a doubt on the usage of 'was' instead of 'is' in the option D & E for the post at the Magoosh Blog..Does it not result in a change of meaning intended?

People believed that there is another ocean in the sky
People believed that there was another ocean in the sky

Ty

Dear Ty,
The difference here is not the difference between two valid grammatical constructions with different meanings. Rather, it is the difference between what is correct and what is not correct. When folks are not clear on the rules of grammar, as is often the case in colloquial conversation, all sorts of unintended meanings can arise.

You have to be clear on the sequence of tenses rules. The "believing" is in the past, so anything that those past believers would have considered true in their present would be indicated by the simple past tense, and anything that those past believers considered already done and part of their past would be indicated by the past perfect.

1) People believed that there was another ocean in the sky = If we asked those past people, they would have said, "There's an ocean in the sky right now."
2) People believed that there had been another ocean in the sky = If we asked those past people, they would have said, "Once, there was an ocean in the sky, but that's no longer the case."
3) People believed that there is another ocean in the sky = grammatically incorrect and therefore meaningless
For #3, the statement is meaningless in and of itself, but we can surmise that the person who said that was trying to say #1, as this is identical to a mistake pattern in colloquial English.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2014, 22:02
Today------------------------People Believed that there was a ghost but thats not the case anymore-------------------------Ghost in the town

People believed that there had been a ghost in the town.

Today------------------------People Believe that there still is a ghost in the town.........................Ghost in town

People believed that there was a ghost in the town

Today- they don't believe in the ghost--------------------People Believe that there still is a ghost in the town.........................Ghost in town

People had been believing that there was a ghost in the town

Today-Believe in the presence of a ghost--------------------People Believe that there still is a ghost in the town.........................Ghost in town

If I have to explicitly emphasize on the past history of the event:
People believe and have been believing for quite long that there is a ghost in the town


Did I do them correctly?

ThankYou
Justluck04
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2014, 09:45
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JusTLucK04 wrote:
Today------------------------People Believed that there was a ghost but thats not the case anymore-------------------------Ghost in the town
People believed that there had been a ghost in the town.

Today------------------------People Believe that there still is a ghost in the town.........................Ghost in town
People believed that there was a ghost in the town

Today- they don't believe in the ghost--------------------People Believe that there still is a ghost in the town.........................Ghost in town
People had been believing that there was a ghost in the town

Today-Believe in the presence of a ghost--------------------People Believe that there still is a ghost in the town.........................Ghost in town
If I have to explicitly emphasize on the past history of the event:
People believe and have been believing for quite long that there is a ghost in the town


Did I do them correctly?
Thank You
Justluck04

Dear Justluck04,
Hmm. First of all, the structure "had been believing" -- the past perfect progressive --- I can't think of any situation in which that would be correct. In general, we will use the present tense or the past tense for "believe", but unless we are contrasting the action of "believing" to some other action or event. ("Before Galileo turned his telescope on the heavens, people had believed that ...") If we are talking about people in the present time doing the believing, we use the present tense. If we are talking about people in the past doing the believing, we use the past tense. In ordinary descriptions of beliefs, those are the only tenses we need for the word "believe."

Now, let's talk about what the people believe. I had a bit of trouble following your scheme. Here's how I would present it.

Case #1:
In 1800, people said, "We believe there are ghosts in town."
We would say: "Those people in 1800 believed that there were ghosts in town."

Case #2:
In 1800, people said, "We believe there were ghosts in town at one time, but they are no longer here."
We would say: "Those people in 1800 believed that there had been ghosts in town."

Case #3:
In 2014, people say, "We believe there are ghosts in town."
We would say: "These people believe that there are ghosts in town."

Case #4:
In 2014, people say, "We believe there were ghosts in town at one time, but they are no longer here."
We would say: "These people believe that there were ghosts in town."

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 09 Oct 2015, 04:42
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Rk91 wrote:
Then how will we differentiate which one happened earlier. We use ' had + past tense' to signify that event A happened before another event occurred right ?

I am little confused. Is it possible to use had + past tense twice in a sentence.

Thanks

Rk91 yes it is possible.

given sentence with option D looks as below

The people of the ancient Near East believed
  • that the Earth’s dry land first had appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and
  • that there was another ocean in the sky, above the firmament.

All the events are in past tense that the people believed to be true seem to have occurred before the action Believed.
or
The people believed that the water separation and dry land exposure occurred earlier in the past before he believed.

so past perfect tense is needed and coming to those two actions of past perfect tense.

when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, Earth’s dry land first had appeared

There are no two separate actions present here.
Quote:
When water is separated dry land appeared.


So water separation is the only action here.

Dry land appeared automatically as remaining land will appear anyway.

It occurred in the same time period.

I hope this helps :)

Originally posted by Nevernevergiveup on 08 Oct 2015, 22:20.
Last edited by Nevernevergiveup on 09 Oct 2015, 04:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2015, 10:43
Why B is wrong
Cant we use simple past
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2015, 01:07
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kanigmat011 wrote:
Why B is wrong
Cant we use simple past



No, we can't use simple past here.
In the question stem, its mentioned that "The people of ancient Near East believed...". Now if someone has believed X, then it must happened in the past (before actually believing). It shouldn't be that both actions are happening at the same time.
Option D, correctly depicting by adding "had".

Hope that helps.

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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2016, 20:48
souvik101990 wrote:
The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land first appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is another ocean in the sky, above the firmament.

A. appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is

B. appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there is

C. appeared when the Creator separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was

D. had appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was

E. appeared when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was



Hi mikemcgarry,

Although most above have choosen the OA, some points which require a bit of clarification as the source is magoosh,

Quote:
The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land
Quote:
first had appeared
when the Creator had separated the “water above” from the “water below”, and that there was another ocean in the sky, above the firmament.


wouldn't had first appeared better than first had appeared ...
first modifies apperance and should be close to it..
also do we require 'first' at all. appeared' used in the context itself suggests 'first'. isn't it redundancy?
the present structure seems to say that there have been few appearances, the first of which occured when the creator....
Its something like..
Ronaldo first had played for x club and then for club y.

Do we really require past perfect?
doesn't believed and the structure itself suggest that the incident being believed about has been prior to the believing..
The ancients believed that the almighty created earth out of xyz..
shouldn't this be correct
why would we require to say ..
The ancients believed that the almighty had created earth out of xyz..

Regards
Chetan
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2016, 04:49
mankodim wrote:
akhil911 wrote:
Posting the explanation from Magoosh

Here, we have an interesting variant on indirect speech, a “that”-clause about belief. Both of the first two verbs, to appear and to separate, refer to actions that occurred at the Creation of the World, presumably a past event for anyone speaking about it. In indirect speech, these both should be in the past perfect, “had appeared” and “had separated“. Only (D) has both of these.
The last verb, a form of the verb to be, describes a current condition of the world (at least in this ancient worldview), so this would have been a present tense verb to anyone speaking about it, and in indirect speech, present becomes past, so this should be “there was”, which is correct in both (D) & (E).
The only possible answer is (D).

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IMO, E is grammatically correct. Option E on the Magoosh blog is different. I do not see any problem with E as such.


If a verb in past occurs within a statement / belief in past, then the former must be in past perfect since it occured before the past statement / belief. Hence:

The People believed that land had appeared.

The verb "appear" occured before the verb "believe".
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 24 May 2017, 22:50
Hi Expert,

I didn't get the line of reasoning here.

IMO, D has to be the correct one over here.

My Line of thought-the action of "separated" occurred before anything else, therefore, its imperative and only logical to make that verb past perfect.
Creator had separated the 2 skies and then the Earth's dry land appeared.
Use of "first" before "Appeared" makes it a verb that took place before the verb "Believed".

Where am i wrong on this?

Request your help on this.
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Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land  [#permalink]

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New post 27 May 2017, 13:24
honneeey wrote:
Hi Expert,

I didn't get the line of reasoning here.

IMO, D has to be the correct one over here.

My Line of thought-the action of "separated" occurred before anything else, therefore, its imperative and only logical to make that verb past perfect.
Creator had separated the 2 skies and then the Earth's dry land appeared.
Use of "first" before "Appeared" makes it a verb that took place before the verb "Believed".

Where am i wrong on this?

Request your help on this.


Do you know the rule that ALL verbs need to be taken one step back while changing the tense from present to past?

I believe that I went there....present
I believed that I had gone there.... past

Please see the explanation above - both the verbs "separated" and "appeared" occurs (in past) within another verb in past "believed". So both verbs "separated" and "appeared" must be in past perfect (because they occurred before the verb "believe").

https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-people-o ... l#p1770222

Compare the following:
I said that I had gone there. ( the past action "had gone" occurred within a statement in past, hence past perfect.)
Similarly,
The people believed that dry land had appeared when the creator had separated. ( the past actions "had appeared" and "had separated" occurred within a statement in past, hence past perfect.)

Your query about the word "first": The word "first" means "for the first time".
GMAT Club Bot
Re: The people of the ancient Near East believed that the Earth’s dry land &nbs [#permalink] 27 May 2017, 13:24

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