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Tenses in TO sentences

kathieee

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Hello,
I am struggling with learning the language by myself so there're always questions I need to discuss with other people because sometimes what's written in my book doesn't match with what's on the internet. As I understood, TO is used with actions which happen always after something happens. Therefore, you only use present tense. The same is on the internet. But there're a lot of sentences with past tense in my book (russian-japanese book, considered as a good book for Russian learners). There's an example of such sentence: 外へ出ると、くらかった。This means"When he went outside, it was dark". But since that's an if clause it sounds quite incorrect. But the books explains this as a correct sentence because the action was unexpected for the speaker. However, even if the example sentence incorrect, I thought what if an action necessarily happend but in the past. Like something used to be natural but now something changed and it doesn't happed anymore. So you'd like to use past tense here with TO. Would that be correct and if not what should you use instead TO.
 

Toritoribe

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It's not "if". It's a description of a real past event, as in the translation "When he went outside, it was dark".
昔は~と…たものだった can express your situation, but the present form is attached to と anyway.
e.g.
昔は夏になると海に行ったものだ。(=今は夏になっても海に行かない。)
 
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