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  1. #1
    cubezero3's Avatar
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    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
    cubezero3's Avatar
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    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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    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 VIP Member
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    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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    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 17:33.

  6. #6
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    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
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    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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    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 19:12.

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event

    No matter how many times I read your post, e2e4, I cannot change the situation. The usage we are discussing in The daily exercises lasted only eleven minutes and I proposed to do them early in the morning before anyone had got up is acceptable.

    As far as your preferred versions are concerned:

    I proposed to have them done is fine;
    before anyone would get up is just about possible, though unusual.
    before anyone got up is fine. It is probably more likely, but not 'better' than:
    before anyone had got up.
    Last edited by 5jj; 27-Nov-2010 at 19:35. Reason: typo

  10. #10
    e2e4 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I thought people only use past perfect tense to dipict an earlier past event

    /A learner/

    Dear teacher fivejedjon, thank you for having been patient with me. In order to clear this I must continue with a few more lines.
    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    No matter how many times I read your post, e2e4, I cannot change the situation.

    Parser has cited two explanations. Michael Swan confirms the construction in his Practical E
    nglish Usage, saying, "A past perfect tense can refer to a time later than the action of the main verb. This is unusual".I don't know what the professor meant writing the sentence which Parser quoted. I think I'll buy that book if it is possible here in the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia.
    I must write those two sentences again

    1. I had seen him before he saw me.
    2. I
    saw him before he had seen me.

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

    What for?

    In #1 "I had seen him" is a completed action
    in the deep past.before he saw me. But he saw me as well!!!
    ( In #2 I saw him ~ a completed action in the past)
    In #2 "before he had seen me" was an intention only. He either hadn't seen me at all or at least he hadn't seen me first!!! The intention wasn't fulfilled. His intention had been to had had me seen me before I saw him.Also it could have been my imagination only that it had been his intention.
    How one can say then that #1 and#2 tell the same?

    Anyway regarding these two sentences I repeated a few times I would say the next below

    Between its all other, but more normal usages, the Pluperfect Tense is also used in phrases in which it expresses either possible or even imaginary intention that either should or could have happened before the other action happened at the time of speaking in the past but happening by way of interrupting or disabling the intention expressed by the past perfect.

    Now I ask myself is in #2 "had seen" the past subjunctive actually?

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