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  1. #1
    123Amigo is offline Newbie
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    Default Focus on past tenses

    Good evening,

    I have been working on grammar exercises in the last few hours. Now I have got some questions which you can hopefully help me with:

    1) I booked an appointment for 1.30 pm on Wednesday.
    2) In fact, I spent over six hours in the hairdresser's altogether and didn't arrive home until well after 8'o clock.

    I would go for "was booking and was spending" but the correction says what I wrote above. Why? In the second sentence we are dealing with a certain amount of time, don't we?
    In sentence one I would say we talk about a specific event in the past. My grammar book tells me to use past progressive in such situations.

    Can you give me a more proper explanation please? I am unsure about the difference in meaning with simple past and past progressive.


    3.1) We would like to have stayed longer.
    3.2) We would have liked to stay longer.
    3.3) We would have liked to have stayed longer.

    I am completely confused about the difference in meaning, as this is nothing I have ever worked on before. They all express preferences in the past, but which sentence fits which past tense and why?


    Kind regards
    have a good evening

    123Amigo

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Focus on past tenses

    Please ask different questions in separate threads, othewise the responses can become quite confusing. I have tackled one of your questions.
    3.1) We would like to have stayed longer.
    a. We regret now that we did not stay longer on the past occasion the speaker is talking about.
    b. We regret now that we cannot stay longer now.
    3.2) We would have liked to stay longer.
    a. On that past occasion, we regretted that we could not stay longer.
    b. We regret now that we cannot stay longer now.
    3.3) We would have liked to have stayed longer.
    a. On a past occasion, we regretted that we had been unable to stay longer on a precious occasion.
    b.
    On that past occasion, we regretted that we could not stay longer.
    c.
    We regret now that we cannot stay longer now.
    Confused?

    The problem is that native speakers frequently use a form that is technically 'incorrect'. In my paraphrases above, the 'a' version is the 'correct' one., but you will hear people using the utterances with the 'b' and 'c' meanings. The message intended will usually be clear from the context.

    If you want to use the 'correct' form, remember that (very roughly):

    we would like = we wish - present time
    we would have liked = we wished - past time
    to stay = at the same time as, or after, the wish
    to have stayed = before the wish.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Focus on past tenses

    1) I booked an appointment for 1.30 pm on Wednesday.
    2) In fact, I spent over six hours in the hairdresser's altogether and didn't arrive home until well after 8'o clock.

    I would go for "was booking and was spending" but the correction says what I wrote above. Why? In the second sentence we are dealing with a certain amount of time, don't we?
    In sentence one I would say we talk about a specific event in the past. My grammar book tells me to use past progressive in such situations.
    The past progressive would suggest that the actions weren't finished. Your grammar books probably means situations where the action/state described by the verb was ongoing at that time being referenced.

  4. #4
    123Amigo is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Focus on past tenses

    Alright, thank you for your quick responses. It's still not a 100% percent clear, but I will keep on practising and may create a new topic in case their might occur new problems.

  5. #5
    cubezero3's Avatar
    cubezero3 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Focus on past tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Please ask different questions in separate threads, othewise the responses can become quite confusing. I have tackled one of your questions.Confused?

    The problem is that native speakers frequently use a form that is technically 'incorrect'. In my paraphrases above, the 'a' version is the 'correct' one., but you will hear people using the utterances with the 'b' and 'c' meanings. The message intended will usually be clear from the context.

    If you want to use the 'correct' form, remember that (very roughly):

    we would like = we wish - present time
    we would have liked = we wished - past time
    to stay = at the same time as, or after, the wish
    to have stayed = before the wish.

    Hello, 5jj.

    I'd like to ask a question regarding the following sentence: 3.2) We would have liked to stay longer.

    Do people have to add an if clause when using the sentence quoted, as in If we had been there that very day, we would have liked to stay longer?

    If this is the case, then is seems the meanings of sentence 3.1 and 3.2 are not substantially different.

    Many thanks

    Richard

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Focus on past tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post

    Do people have to add an if clause when using the sentence quoted, as in If we had been there that very day, we would have liked to stay longer?
    No- they were there that day, but they couldn't stay any longer.

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