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  1. #1
    cubezero3's Avatar
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    Default I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event

    Then, there came this sentence:

    The daily exercises lasted only eleven minutes and I proposed to do them early in the morning before anyone had got up.

    Lesson 50 New Year resolutions, New Concept English Book 3


    I really don't know how I should make of this usage. A mistake on the writer's side? Or he or she is showing that actually sentences like this one do exist, however rare the cases may be.

    Many thanks

    Richard

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event

    Could anyone please answer this question?

    Thanks

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event

    To me it suggests completion, so is more emphatic than before they got up would be.

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event



    I really don't know how I should make of this usage. A mistake on the writer's side? Or he or she is showing that actually sentences like this one do exist, however rare the cases may be.

    Many thanks

    Richard[/QUOTE]


    NOT A TEACHER


    Richard,


    (1) I believe that your textbook is correct.

    (2) Yes, that use of the past perfect is "rare."

    (3) Professor Quirk and his colleagues in their famous A Comprehensive

    Grammar of the English Language say that these two sentences

    seem to be the same in meaning:

    I had seen him before he saw me.

    I saw him before he had seen me.

    Dr. Quirk and his fellow scholars explain that the second sentence

    may be nonfactual. That is, the event in the before- clause

    may not have taken place. (He did not get a chance to see me

    because I evaded [I hid from] him.)

    (4) As an ordinary speaker of English, I have found extremely

    useful this explanation by Mr. Walter Kay Smart in his excellent

    English Review Grammar:

    Sometimes the past perfect is used in a subordinate clause

    beginning with "before" ... to indicate an action which

    should have preceded the action expressed in the main clause,

    but did not actually do so:

    He gave his decision BEFORE he had studied all the data.

    The manager came BEFORE I had read the report.


    Thank you & have a nice day.

  5. #5
    cubezero3's Avatar
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    Default Re: I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event

    [QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post


    I really don't know how I should make of this usage. A mistake on the writer's side? Or he or she is showing that actually sentences like this one do exist, however rare the cases may be.

    Many thanks

    Richard

    NOT A TEACHER


    Richard,


    (1) I believe that your textbook is correct.

    (2) Yes, that use of the past perfect is "rare."

    (3) Professor Quirk and his colleagues in their famous A Comprehensive

    Grammar of the English Language say that these two sentences

    seem to be the same in meaning:

    I had seen him before he saw me.

    I saw him before he had seen me.

    Dr. Quirk and his fellow scholars explain that the second sentence

    may be nonfactual. That is, the event in the before- clause

    may not have taken place. (He did not get a chance to see me

    because I evaded [I hid from] him.)

    (4) As an ordinary speaker of English, I have found extremely

    useful this explanation by Mr. Walter Kay Smart in his excellent

    English Review Grammar:

    Sometimes the past perfect is used in a subordinate clause

    beginning with "before" ... to indicate an action which

    should have preceded the action expressed in the main clause,

    but did not actually do so:


    He gave his decision B
    Last edited by cubezero3; 27-Nov-2010 at 16:33.

  6. #6
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event

    /A learner/

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post
    Then, there came this sentence:
    The daily exercises lasted only eleven minutes and I proposed to do them early in the morning before anyone had got up.
    I really don't know how I should make of this usage. A mistake on the writer's side? Or he or she is showing that actually sentences like this one do exist, however rare the cases may be.

    Many thanks

    Richard
    NOT A TEACHER

    Richard,

    (1) I believe that your textbook is correct.

    (2) Yes, that use of the past perfect is "rare."

    (3) Professor Quirk and his colleagues in their famous A Comprehensive

    Grammar of the English Language say that these two sentences

    seem to be the same in meaning:

    I had seen him before he saw me.

    I saw him before he had seen me.

    Dr. Quirk and his fellow scholars explain that the second sentence

    may be nonfactual. That is, the event in the before- clause

    may not have taken place. (He did not get a chance to see me

    because I evaded [I hid from] him.)

    (4) As an ordinary speaker of English, I have found extremely

    useful this explanation by Mr. Walter Kay Smart in his excellent

    English Review Grammar:

    Sometimes the past perfect is used in a subordinate clause

    beginning with "before" ... to indicate an action which

    should have preceded the action expressed in the main clause,

    but did not actually do so:

    He gave his decision BEFORE he had studied all the data.

    The manager came BEFORE I had read the report.


    Thank you & have a nice day. [/QUOTE]

    1. I had seen him before he saw me. (correct usage for me, a learner)

    2. I
    saw him before he had seen me. (correct usage for me, a learner)

    But, these two sentences do not have completely the same meaning for me, a learner.


    In #1 "I had seen him" is a completed action
    in the deep past.( In #2 I saw him ~ a completed action in the past)
    In #2 "he had seen me" was an intention only.

    In addition


    The daily exercises lasted only eleven minutes and I proposed to do them early in the morning before anyone had got up.
    "before anyone had got up" This time, in this case, this is a wrong usage for me, a learner.
    this wasn't anybody's intention. They slept.
    I would say

    I proposed to having them done before anyone got up.


    Sorry but I must tell my opinion.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event

    Quote Originally Posted by e2e4 View Post

    The daily exercises lasted only eleven minutes and I proposed to do them early in the morning before anyone had got up.
    "before anyone had got up" This time, in this case, this is a wrong usage for me, a learner.
    this wasn't anybody's intention. They slept.

    Parser has cited two explanations. Michael Swan confirms the construction in his Practical English Usage, saying, "A past perfect tense can refer to a time later than the action of the main verb. This is unusual".

    It may appear wrong to you. It may not be very common. But, it is acceptable to native speakers.

    I would say

    I proposed to having them done before anyone got up.


    Sorry, but that is not acceptable English.

    Sorry but I must tell my opinion.
    You have every right to your opinions. In this instance I value the opinion of Quirk, Smart and Swan more highly, particularly as they reflect my own usage.

  8. #8
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    You have every right to your opinions. In this instance I value the opinion of Quirk, Smart and Swan more highly, particularly as they reflect my own usage.

    Dear teacher fivejedjon, I like the answer but, with all my respect, I would also like that you read my post again, slowly and carefully.

    Do you deny this part below

    In #1 "I had seen him" is a completed action in the deep past.( In #2 I saw him ~ a completed action in the past)
    In #2 "he had seen me" was an intention only.


    Also in the begining of my post I said that the usage of the PP was correct as in the sentence, for example

    He was captured before he had run half a mile.( He wanted to run away but couldn't for he had been captured before he implemented his intention completely.

    I like to learn this way the best. Not forget it for some time. For a long time, I hope.

    All the best

    P.S. In addition it might be a bit better
    I proposed to having them done before anyone would get up.
    than
    I proposed to having them done before anyone got up.
    Last edited by e2e4; 27-Nov-2010 at 18:12.

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