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Past Perfect showing completion

You have words - now what do you do with them?

Postby Audiendus » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:32 pm

Enigma wrote:Say if you wrote this sentence, would you not decide to use the past perfect because you want to show the temporal relationship between the two attached clause?

I had no money, because I had lost my wallet.

Yes, I certainly agree there.
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Postby Enigma » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:07 pm

Is this the conclusion we have come to?

--When deciding the aspect/tense of the subordinate clause, sometimes, as with the example I just gave, the choice is based on when that action happenes in relation to the action in the main clause.

--When deciding the aspect/tense of the main clause, usually the tense is determined by the greater context.
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Postby saparris » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:11 pm

I had no money, because I had lost my wallet.


This past perfect is also required because of the past simple in the main clause. In this case, we're indicating that one action preceded another by using the two different tenses (sequence of tense).

Also, I am the one who said that "you choose verb tenses within a set of rules...." What I should have said is "we choose verb tenses within a set of rules." What i meant was that, within the parameters of expressing what we mean, there may be several options that are within the rules. Thus, we examine the sense of the sentence first, then apply the best tenses--within a set of grammatically correct options--to say best what we mean.
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Postby Enigma » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:16 pm

How is this different from what I said, Sap?

This past perfect is also required because of the past simple in the main clause. In this case, we're indicating that one action preceded another by using the two different tenses (sequence of tense).


would you not decide to use the past perfect because you want to show the temporal relationship between the two attached clause?


And I now see what you mean by the rules. Thanks for clearing that up :D
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Postby Slava » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:18 pm

saparris wrote:...within the parameters of expressing what we mean, there may be several options that are within the rules. Thus, we examine the sense of the sentence first, then apply the best tenses--within a set of grammatically correct options--to say best what we mean.
And we bear in mind that languages change over time, so there may no longer be a hard and fast rule governing our choices.
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Postby Enigma » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:25 pm

I assume these are examples of what you mean by how the greater context influences the tense of the main clause?

He was asked to leave the gallery. He refused to go until he saw all the pictures.


He was asked to leave the gallery. He refused to go until he had seen all the pictures.


He enjoyed the art gallery yesterday. He had refused to go until he saw all the pictures.


He enjoyed the art gallery yesterday. He had refused to go until he had seen all the pictures.
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Postby Audiendus » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:53 pm

I would write the following:

He was asked to leave the gallery. He refused....
He enjoyed the art gallery yesterday. He refused....
He left the art gallery at 5pm. He had refused....

By the way, I am happy with your conclusion in the second post on this page.
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Postby saparris » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:55 pm

I assume these are examples of what you mean by how the greater context influences the tense of the main clause?


I think those are good examples, and I also think that context and the grammar we use to express it are so intricately woven that it's often difficult to tell which is influencing the other.

And we bear in mind that languages change over time, so there may no longer be a hard and fast rule governing our choices.


Yes, language changes over time, but the rules of grammar are extremely slow to change, and those governing sentence structure, parts of speech, tense, mood, and so forth are still pretty hard and fast.
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Postby Slava » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:49 pm

A question that came to me today: are we discussing written or spoken English here? In several of the example sentences, especially where I said I'd use "do," the tone of voice and intonation will play a role in how the sentence is understood.

A drawn out "Weelll, if I dooo accept...," to me conveys the same meaning as the written tenses.

Just a thought.
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Postby Enigma » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:58 pm

Slava wrote:A question that came to me today: are we discussing written or spoken English here? In several of the example sentences, especially where I said I'd use "do," the tone of voice and intonation will play a role in how the sentence is understood.

A drawn out "Weelll, if I dooo accept...," to me conveys the same meaning as the written tenses.

Just a thought.


Good point. Written English. Or was it Chinese?
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Postby saparris » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:30 am

Good point. Written English.


Spoken. It's easier to spell.

Actually, written English presents some challenges that spoken English doesn't, and your "Weelll, if I dooo accept..." is a good example. To show emphasis in spoken English, we have our voices, as well as our hands and faces.

In written English, we have to resort to elongated spelling, bolding, and underlining.

Grammatical mistakes are somewhat more forgivable in spoken English as well, simply because we can't go back and edit what we say.
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Postby alicia ortis » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:56 am

thanks for helping me with my homework! :)
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Postby bnjtokyo » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:25 am

The post above by alicia ortis is spam -- don't click on the link
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