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  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    choice of tenses (phineas) 1

    Dear teachers,

    This is an exercise where I tried to put the verbs in the correct tense. If you wouldn't mind, I would like you to tell me if, without other context, the tenses / prepositions in capital letters are possible. The tenses in brackets are the original ones.

    PARAGRAPH 1 :

    … Phineas, as he heard this, remembered former days in which he 1 (had ridden) / HAD BEEN RIDING / USED TO RIDE (?) about Saulsby Woods, and 2 (had thought) / THOUGHT (= he remembered and thought ?) them to be anything but hateful. “Is Saulsby shut up?” he asked.
    “Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You 3 (would find) / b) WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now. He 4 (was) / b) WILL BE here in the spring, for a week or two — in England, that is; but he 5 (stayed) / b) WILL STAY / WILL BE STAYING 6 (at) / IN an hotel in London. He and Laura 7 (live) / ARE LIVING 8 (at) / IN Dresden now, and a very sad time they 9 (must have) / MUST BE HAVING.”

    Thank you very much in advance,
    Hela

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: choice of tenses (phineas) 1

    1- used to is OK
    2- Thopught would be fine with used to
    3- No- unloess he's actually going to meet him
    4-5 Possible, but it changes the meaning completely
    6-9 OK

  3. #3
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Re: choice of tenses (phineas) 1

    I understand that the future (from 3 to 5) changes the meaning, but is it clear form this context (this particular passage) that we should use the conditional in 3 and the simple past in 4 & 5 ?

    Many thanks,
    Hela

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: choice of tenses (phineas) 1

    From the context, I think that the visit was when the speaker saw the changes, so it makes more sense to me.

  5. #5
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Re: choice of tenses (phineas) 1

    Thank you tdol,

    I still have more questions, though, about the alternatives. Example:

    1) “Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You a) would find [original] / b) WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now.

    a) Now, did the author use the conditional would find him because his character thought that Mr Finn had a SMALL chance to see Mr Kennedy since he is living in Germany?

    b) And if I writeWILL FIND would it mean that Mr Finn does have a chance to see him in the future? (= more likely and less doubtful ?)

    c) and can the verb/tense WILL FIND work in combination with the past? i.e.
    WILL FIND + WAS here... but STAYED..." i.e.

    "Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now. He was here in the spring, for a week or two — in England, that is; but he stayed at an hotel in London. He and Laura live at Dresden now, and a very sad time they must have / MUST BE HAVING.”

    d) Do you think that it will work best with :
    "He WILL BE here... but he WILL STAY / WILL BE STAYING / IS STAYING in London"

    e) or do the 2 passages have no relation with one another / are quite independent from one another?



    2) In “No one, no other human being in the world, will be so interested for you as she is.” [original text]

    a) If we consider the auxiliary used at the end of the sentence “is”, the normal guess would be IS in the first clause. Right ?

    b) Now, the choices of will be [original tense] (likely action in the future ?) and WOULD BE (possible action in the future ?) should not affect the auxiliary used in the second clause “IS”, should it ?



    3) Same question about “WOULD FEEL” in “If any friend ever felt an interest almost selfish for a friend’s welfare, she WOULD FEEL such an interest for you.” [original = “will feel” = mixed conditional = 2 + 1]

    a) “WOULD FEEL” would mean that at that moment of speaking the speaker was not sure if Mrs Kennedy was interested in Mr Finn’s future in politics. Right ?

    b) but with “WILL FEEL” the speaker is sure of Mrs Kennedy’s feeling and interest for Mr Finn. Right ? (I’d like to understand the subtlety between both tenses)



    4) What about the “WILL” form in the following sentence, can it be accepted ? i.e.
    “If you were to succeed it WILL GIVE her a hope in life.” [the text gives “would give” = type 2 conditional]

    a) is the mixed conditional possible here or not ?
    = the speaker is not sure that Mr Finn is going to succeed but if ever this happened he is sure of Mrs Kennedy’s reaction.

    b) type 2 conditional =
    since the speaker doesn’t think that Mr Finn will succeed, he knows therefore that Mrs Kennedy is never going to have such a hope.


    5) After a long thought, I wonder if I can really use PARTED and WERE in the following sentence. If ever you think it possible, would you please tell me why?

    a) Original = “They hadn't seen each other for..., and when they had parted (before the time of narration), though they had lived as friends, there had been (at that same time) no signs of still living friendship.”

    b) so what is the logic when we write :
    “They hadn't seen each other for..., and when they PARTED, though they had lived as friends, there WERE no signs of still living friendship.”


    Sorry to bother you again and I know that I'm splitting hairs but I want to understand the logic in the use of tenses.

    Thank you for your patience,
    Hela
    Last edited by hela; 14-May-2005 at 15:57.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: choice of tenses (phineas) 1

    1) “Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You a) would find [original] / b) WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now.

    a) Now, did the author use the conditional would find him because his character thought that Mr Finn had a SMALL chance to see Mr Kennedy since he is living in Germany?

    Small, or completely imaginary.
    b) And if I writeWILL FIND would it mean that Mr Finn does have a chance to see him in the future? (= more likely and less doubtful ?)
    I'd say it is more than likely

    c) and can the verb/tense WILL FIND work in combination with the past? i.e.
    WILL FIND + WAS here... but STAYED..." i.e.
    Yes- You will find that he stayed abroad because... However, I think the present perfect would be more common.

    "Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now. He was here in the spring, for a week or two — in England, that is; but he stayed at an hotel in London. He and Laura live at Dresden now, and a very sad time they must have / MUST BE HAVING.”

    d) Do you think that it will work best with :
    "He WILL BE here... but he WILL STAY / WILL BE STAYING / IS STAYING in London"

    Will be staying, but they're all possible
    e) or do the 2 passages have no relation with one another / are quite independent from one another?



    2) In “No one, no other human being in the world, will be so interested for you as she is.” [original text]

    a) If we consider the auxiliary used at the end of the sentence “is”, the normal guess would be IS in the first clause. Right ?
    Usually, but it does depend on context; here, the interest of others is future, while hers is present.

    b) Now, the choices of will be [original tense] (likely action in the future ?) and WOULD BE (possible action in the future ?) should not affect the auxiliary used in the second clause “IS”, should it ?
    Not if her interest is real and present


    3) Same question about “WOULD FEEL” in “If any friend ever felt an interest almost selfish for a friend’s welfare, she WOULD FEEL such an interest for you.” [original = “will feel” = mixed conditional = 2 + 1]

    a) “WOULD FEEL” would mean that at that moment of speaking the speaker was not sure if Mrs Kennedy was interested in Mr Finn’s future in politics. Right ?
    Right

    b) but with “WILL FEEL” the speaker is sure of Mrs Kennedy’s feeling and interest for Mr Finn. Right ? (I’d like to understand the subtlety between both tenses)

    Feels...will feel- not definite, but likely and sure if the feeling exists

    4) What about the “WILL” form in the following sentence, can it be accepted ? i.e.
    “If you were to succeed it WILL GIVE her a hope in life.” [the text gives “would give” = type 2 conditional]

    a) is the mixed conditional possible here or not ?
    = the speaker is not sure that Mr Finn is going to succeed but if ever this happened he is sure of Mrs Kennedy’s reaction.
    Not- it contradicts the sense of the first part.
    b) type 2 conditional =
    since the speaker doesn’t think that Mr Finn will succeed, he knows therefore that Mrs Kennedy is never going to have such a hope.

    Yep
    5) After a long thought, I wonder if I can really use PARTED and WERE in the following sentence. If ever you think it possible, would you please tell me why?

    a) Original = “They hadn't seen each other for..., and when they had parted (before the time of narration), though they had lived as friends, there had been (at that same time) no signs of still living friendship.”

    b) so what is the logic when we write :
    “They hadn't seen each other for..., and when they PARTED, though they had lived as friends, there WERE no signs of still living friendship.”
    The living was vefore the parting and the absence of feeling. The logic of 'hadn't seen' is that it came before the did see each other, though it was after the parting. Two past events- seeing each other & parting, before each of which there has been other events. So, it doesn't matter that seeing each other comes later in the overall narrative- events before it are shown through the past perfect.

  7. #7
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Re: choice of tenses (phineas) 1

    Thank you, tdol.

    I find the last point strange though (parted and were signs of...) because of their concord with the time of narration in the simple past.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: choice of tenses (phineas) 1

    It's just governed by the overall time of narration, but by the specific time of narration- relative to the narrative at that stage. The past perfect just links two, or more, things; it doesn't necessarily cover the entire narrative.

  9. #9
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Re: choice of tenses (phineas) 1

    I see,

    Thanks again and have a nice day
    Hela

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