Our secondary school textbook has this sentence:
I already knew about the party, even before you told me.
I think the sentence is correct, but I know my students are going to ask why the first verb is past simple and not past perfect (had known). A colleague thinks the reason is that already signals the past and no other marker is needed. I have a vague idea that it is because the verb know refers to a state rather than an action. If the verb were learn, I think the past perfect would be called for:
I had already learned about the party, even before you told me.Firsten agrees with the colleagues; already is enough. This is wrong for a number of reasons.
- Take out already and you still have a perfectly natural sentence that means the same thing, so it's not just substituting for the past perfect.
- Use a different verb (like learned, suggested by the teacher with the question) and it sounds less natural (at least in my dialect; i.e., I already learned about the party, even before you told me.) In general, already doesn't like past tense verbs.
already + past tense
already + past participle
had already + past participle
(The second question is dealt with here.)