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Thread: tenses

  1. #11
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Do feel free to join in. As far as I am concerned you are not "butting in" at all. And I don't think Gwen will mind either, although I'd better speak only for myself! Thanks for your reply.
    Would you say there is not much difference between:
    1-"During this converstaion, we took a wrong turn."
    and
    2-"During this conversation, we have taken a wrong turn." ?
    And does the sentence D sound correct to you?

  2. #12
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    My view differs from Gwens only slightly, and be aware that I am speaking as a native English speaker, not as a teacher.

    I see "During our conversation..." as implying that at some point in time between the start and the end of our conversation (or now), an event happened.

    Would you say there is not much difference between:
    1-"During this converstaion, we took a wrong turn."
    and
    2-"During this conversation, we have taken a wrong turn." ?
    I don't see much difference in the two forms. That, however, says nothing about whether they're both correct grammatically.
    Red5
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  3. #13
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Thanks Red.
    At one point, I thought that if I did not know where we took the wrong turn, I would say:1-"During this converstaion, we have taken a wrong turn." and if I knew where we took the wrong turn I would say:2-" During this converstaion, we took a wrong turn." But a native-speaker assured me that that was not the case, and I think he is right. I think in this case the present perfect simply changes the focus of the sentence and focuses it on the present state of affairs, whereas the simple past focuses on the act itself.
    [In general of-course, if there is an adverb of time and if the period of time in question does not extend to the present one must use the simple past. If the period of time does extend to the present (today, this afternoon, during this converstaion...), both tenses can be used.]
    As for my sentence D-"He has slipped away while we have been watching his brother." apparently everybody forgets to tell me whether it is correct or not.

  4. #14
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    Regarding our previous comments, I'd like to see what Gwen says - I have no wish to undermine what she said.

    D-"He has slipped away while we have been watching his brother."

    Again, form a native speakers point of view, I'd say that sounds fine. We'll have to see what the teachers say in response though. :? :wink:
    Red5
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