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  1. #11
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibeke
    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.
    Actually, :D , 1. is passive and 2. is past perfect. :wink: Good try on your part, but, no cigar. :( By the way, if you take a look at the post above yours, you'll notice Mike gives an excellent account for material ~ materials. 8)

  2. #12
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    Default

    RonBee moved from St. Louis to Charlotte, NC?

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by Ibeke
    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.
    Actually, :D , 1. is passive and 2. is past perfect. :wink: Good try on your part, but, no cigar. :( By the way, if you take a look at the post above yours, you'll notice Mike gives an excellent account for material ~ materials. 8)
    And does the meaning really remain the same in both constructions?

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    The meaning changes, yes; the state of his leg doesn't change. :wink:

    1. His leg was broken emphasizes the event: leg broken, not how or who broke the leg.

    2. His leg had broken (i.e., before something else happened)

    All the best, :D

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    The meaning changes, yes; the state of his leg doesn't change. :wink:

    1. His leg was broken emphasizes the event: leg broken, not how or who broke the leg.

    2. His leg had broken (i.e., before something else happened)

    All the best, :D
    aj si :P

  6. #16
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Then, there's 'he had his leg broken' to express misfortune.

  7. #17
    NewHope is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    2 could be a mistake:

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

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Then, there's 'he had his leg broken' to express misfortune.
    And "break a leg" is an idiom meaning good luck. One wonders how that came about.

  9. #19
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    Saying "good luck" to someone is believed to actually bring bad luck, hence the "break a leg".
    In French, you would say "Merde!", which means (for those who don't already know) "shit".

    FRC

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Past perfect tense/past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous
    Dear moderators,
    What are the differences between the two sentences below ?
    1. His leg was broken 2. His leg had broken
    in the first example, "His leg was broken." , Broken is used as an adjective, describing his leg. E.g. "His leg was bruised. His leg was injured. His leg was broken. " These are descriptions of his leg.

    Broken, in the second example, is a past participle, meaning that it is an event which had occured before another event (subject). For example, if you say that "his leg had broken.", it MUST be accompanied with another event. E.g. His leg had broken a few days before the football match." The stand-alone sentence is hanging: His leg had broken.... (after he fell of a cliff? during the fight in the bar?)

    it is possible to make the sentence more correct by making it an adjective: His leg had broken... into a million pieces. (in this case, "breaking into a million pieces" is a descriptive phrase :D)


    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous
    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 general usage would be to stick with the word "material".

    The noun material can be used in a lot of ways, the most common being the 'element used to make an object'. E.g. Silk is an expensive material.

    IF there are many elements involved in an activity, then add -s. E.g. A lot of building materials were used in the construction of the bridge.

    For uncountable/abstract objects, such as ideas, information etc, either one can be appropriate. E.g. "The materials for Britney Spears' biography has been compiled, and waiting to be edited." or, "A list of reading material has/materials have been compiled."



    My advice: use the word 'material' freely. Only use materialS when you are absolutely sure of the usage.

    There is no such thing as a "Materials Girl".



    Cheers.

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