the word "pehle" means earlier/before. the reason why the phrase "used to" was usually accepted was because the sentenses just had a "tha" at the end signifying "happened in the past" but didnt have anything else in the sentence that explicitely meant "earlier/before". your sentence would thus simply be translated to "हमदोस्तथे।" without the use of the word "pehle". although in real conversation they both mean exactly the same thing, i guess the idea for this task was to know the use of the word "before"
Thanks for that. I was aware that "पहले" was missing from the translation "We used to be friends". But it full captures the meaning, doesn't it.
Maybe this is a good example of the difference between "interpretation" and "translation". Interpretation is more technical and takes into account the exact meaning of each word. It needs to happen before a translation takes place. But the translation attempts to capture the meaning of the sentence.
So, as far as I see it, the sentences "We were friends earlier", "We were friends before" and "We used to be friends" can all be valid translations of "पहले हम दोस्त थे" although one of the words in the original are omitted.
Perhaps it is a bad interpretation, but a good translation ;)
Is this "We were friends earlier (but we're not any more)" or "We were friends earlier (than you & Bob were, why are you taking him to the match?)"?
Or either, we don't know from the context?
Know translations aren't literal, but would never have thought of the first sense from the English sentence.