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  1. #1
    sahil2kakkar2 is offline Newbie
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    Default English basics forgotten

    Sir
    3 or 4 years ago I came across tenses, active-passive, direct-indirect prepositions etc. Now I feel comfortable with speaking in english though not much fluently and extemporaneously.
    But my problem is this: Suppose I said a sentence "I'm sorry to have kept you waiting" Now I can't figure out that according to which rule have I used these words(have kept). I used them perhaps because I felt like using them and for no other reason.
    Further, I've noticed many times that I fail to explain as to which rule governs the use of particular forms of expressions; I fail to reason though I have myself used them

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: English basics forgotten

    Quote Originally Posted by sahil2kakkar2 View Post
    Sir
    3 or 4 years ago I came across tenses, active-passive, direct-indirect prepositions etc. Now I feel comfortable with speaking in english though not much fluently and extemporaneously.
    But my problem is this: Suppose I said a sentence "I'm sorry to have kept you waiting" Now I can't figure out that according to which rule have I used these words(have kept). I used them perhaps because I felt like using them and for no other reason.
    Further, I've noticed many times that I fail to explain as to which rule governs the use of particular forms of expressions; I fail to reason though I have myself used them

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Sahil.

    (1) Don't feel bad. We ordinary native speakers don't know all the rules,

    either.

    (2) Of course, the most important thing is to speak (or write) correctly.

    (3) Many students learn all the rules, but they still can't speak correctly.

    (4) Yes, I believe that you were correct in saying: I am sorry TO HAVE

    KEPT you waiting.

    (5) As you undoubtedly learned in school, this is an infinitive (because of

    the "to" and the perfect because of "have kept." ) My grammar books

    call this a "perfect infinitive."

    (6) Suppose you are the boss. Someone comes to see you. Your

    secretary tells that person to wait. That person waits for 45 minutes

    because you are very busy. Finally, you walk out of your office and say

    to that waiting person: Oh, I am so sorry to have kept you waiting."

    (a) I think that most books would suggest the perfect infinitive because

    it refers to the past (the 45 minutes that the person was waiting) and the

    present (when you walked out and started to speak).

    (b) If you had said, "I am sorry that I kept you waiting," some books

    would recommend that you use the past only for something that is

    definitely past and finished. For example, if you call him/her the next

    day, you would say: I am sorry that I kept you waiting so long yesterday."

    (6) It's great that you speak correct English even though you cannot

    cite the rules. Except for teachers, very few people think of the rules.

    They learn "good" English by imitating "educated" speakers and reading

    "good" literature.

    Best of luck.

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