I haven't had an answer to my query re Chris' explanation, I last wrote ' The English version of this sentence is 'By the time he packed' so the answer should be 'ait fait' or the english should be 'by the time he packs' in which case the french should be ' she will already be gone' ' I now have a further query about 'By the time you were ready, the bus had already gone'. Surely 'By the time you were ready' is in the past? Is this an example of the difficulty of translating English into French? Do we not have an equivalent tense?
Being in the past is not the only factor deciding upon which subjunctive tense to use. It is more about the relationship between the two actions. If you want to stress that the first one definitely ended before the second one started, then use the past subjunctive. If that aspect isn't important, then go for the present subjunctive.
Thank you for getting in touch via the Helpdesk and the Q&A forum! The language team is aware of your query and we will get back to you as soon as we can. ;-)
Merci et bonne journée !
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