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  1. #1
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    Default Past perfect tense/past tense

    Dear moderators,

    What are the differences between the two sentences below ?

    1. His leg was broken 2. His leg had broken

    Another question :

    How do I use the word " materials " and " material " ( singular ) . Many grammar books( written by American & British authors ) that I have referred to stated that " materials " could only be used for physical materials ,e.g. blood sample , paper ,etc . But the word " material" ( without "s" is only used for reading or academic materials.For example ,teaching material .

    The explanations given by the books that I read were very confusing because I came across many academic writings that used " materials " instead of " material " for academic writings .

    Perhaps, our experts overthere could englighten me on this word ( material). What is the ' safest' way of using material ?

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarmizi
    Dear moderators,

    What are the differences between the two sentences below ?

    1. His leg was broken 2. His leg had broken
    The first sentence says to me that he had a broken leg. I'm not sure what context the second sentence would be used in. It would be more usual to say his leg had been broken.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tarmizi
    Another question :

    How do I use the word " materials " and " material " ( singular ) . Many grammar books( written by American & British authors ) that I have referred to stated that " materials " could only be used for physical materials ,e.g. blood sample , paper ,etc . But the word " material" ( without "s" is only used for reading or academic materials.For example ,teaching material .

    The explanations given by the books that I read were very confusing because I came across many academic writings that used " materials " instead of " material " for academic writings .

    Perhaps, our experts overthere could englighten me on this word ( material). What is the ' safest' way of using material ?
    The phrase reading material is certainly a common one. I'm not really familiar otherwise with many word combinations regarding the words material or materials; however, more important than what the grammar books say, perhaps, is how the words are actually used.

    Perhaps others will have something to contribute.

    :)

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    2 could be a mistake:

    'He had his leg broken' is an idiomatic use of the causative, often used for accidents, etc.

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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarmizi
    Dear moderators,

    What are the differences between the two sentences below ?

    1. His leg was broken 2. His leg had broken

    Another question :

    How do I use the word " materials " and " material " ( singular ) . Many grammar books( written by American & British authors ) that I have referred to stated that " materials " could only be used for physical materials ,e.g. blood sample , paper ,etc . But the word " material" ( without "s" is only used for reading or academic materials.For example ,teaching material .

    The explanations given by the books that I read were very confusing because I came across many academic writings that used " materials " instead of " material " for academic writings .

    Perhaps, our experts overthere could englighten me on this word ( material). What is the ' safest' way of using material ?
    hi Tarmizi,

    To my best knowledge, "material" can be used for both meanings mentioned above. There is no difference between them, unless it might have been misprinted.
    Therefore I want to suggest to have a look at dictionaries.

    regards,
    Henry

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    'Teaching materials' is common enough in BE.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    'Teaching materials' is common enough in BE.
    In AE too, I'm sure.

    :)

  7. #7
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarmizi
    Dear moderators,

    What are the differences between the two sentences below ?

    1. His leg was broken 2. His leg had broken
    In my opinion, both constructions can be correct. The first can be a predicate adjective following a linking verb or a past tense passive voice construction. In this case it is impossible to tell the difference. It would be a definite passive voice construction if an agent were mentioned. "His leg was broken by the other fighter.

    The second is a past perfect construction. It uses the intransitive sense of "break". He fell to the ground in pain. The strain had been too much and his leg had broken.

    "Had been broken" is also correct.

    Another question :

    How do I use the word " materials " and " material " ( singular ) . Many grammar books( written by American & British authors ) that I have referred to stated that " materials " could only be used for physical materials ,e.g. blood sample , paper ,etc . But the word " material" ( without "s" is only used for reading or academic materials.For example ,teaching material .

    The explanations given by the books that I read were very confusing because I came across many academic writings that used " materials " instead of " material " for academic writings .

    Perhaps, our experts overthere could englighten me on this word ( material). What is the ' safest' way of using material ?
    Material can be a mass noun (uncountable) but as with many mass nouns, it can also be countable. I would use "teaching material" if the material were all of one type or if the type(s) were unknown. I would use "teaching materials" if the materials were of different types.

  8. #8
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Quote Originally Posted by Tarmizi
    Dear moderators,

    What are the differences between the two sentences below ?

    1. His leg was broken 2. His leg had broken
    In my opinion, both constructions can be correct. The first can be a predicate adjective following a linking verb or a past tense passive voice construction. In this case it is impossible to tell the difference. It would be a definite passive voice construction if an agent were mentioned. "His leg was broken by the other fighter.

    The second is a past perfect construction. It uses the intransitive sense of "break". He fell to the ground in pain. The strain had been too much and his leg had broken.

    "Had been broken" is also correct.

    Another question :

    How do I use the word " materials " and " material " ( singular ) . Many grammar books( written by American & British authors ) that I have referred to stated that " materials " could only be used for physical materials ,e.g. blood sample , paper ,etc . But the word " material" ( without "s" is only used for reading or academic materials.For example ,teaching material .

    The explanations given by the books that I read were very confusing because I came across many academic writings that used " materials " instead of " material " for academic writings .

    Perhaps, our experts overthere could englighten me on this word ( material). What is the ' safest' way of using material ?
    Material can be a mass noun (uncountable) but as with many mass nouns, it can also be countable. I would use "teaching material" if the material were all of one type or if the type(s) were unknown. I would use "teaching materials" if the materials were of different types.
    Excellent "new and improved" analysis, Mike! :D

    (new and improved = better than the ones that came before)

    :)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee

    Excellent "new and improved" analysis, Mike! :D

    (new and improved = better than the ones that came before)

    :)
    :wink: :D

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Dear moderators,

    What are the differences between the two sentences below ?

    1. His leg was broken 2. His leg had broken
    1. caused to be broken

    2. broke itself


    But I can't help you on the material(s), sounds quite confusing to me as well.

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