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  1. #1
    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default tense simplification

    When do we normally use simple tenses instead of perfect tenses,such as the past simple for the past perfect?

  2. #2
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    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: tense simplification

    Quote Originally Posted by balakrishnanijk View Post
    When do we normally use simple tenses instead of perfect tenses,such as the past simple for the past perfect?
    If you use the past simple when the past perfect is called for, or vice-versa, it's an error.
    It's not possible here to explain to you in full the uses of the perfect "tenses", there are many sites on the internet where you can study them. If, after doing some research, you need help with specific questions, you are welcome to post them here.

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    Default Re: tense simplification

    Take a look here: Purdue OWL: Verb Tenses

    Your question is too broad to answer in a post.

    If you have a few sentences and aren't sure which tense is the most appropriate, please post them for us to take a look at.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default Re: tense simplification

    What I am asking you is about tense simplification in subordinate clauses. For example, when you report things, you tend to retain the same tense in subordinate clauses instead of changing it to the past perfect or the past perfect continuous, as in:


    I posted the letter.
    She reassured me that she had posted/posted the letter.

    I would like to know whether the above rule holds good in all cases?
    Last edited by balakrishnanijk; 11-Feb-2012 at 04:21. Reason: punctuation

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    Default Re: tense simplification

    There is no general 'simplification of tenses'. It is simply that, when we talk about past events, we often do not use the past perfect if the sequence of those events is clear. In the first of the examples below, the past perfect is necessary to show the sequence of events; in the second, it is not.

    When I arrived she had already left.
    She left after I (had) arrived.


    Similarly, if the verb itself contains the idea of completion, then a perfect form is not essential.

    You can leave when you finish/have finished your homework.

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