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  1. #1
    marmoset is offline Junior Member
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    Default ...was...I've ever had.

    Hi there.

    I'm a native-English-speaking assistant English teacher at a Japanese high school. But, I'm rusty on some grammar details.

    Today the real teachers are checking the exams of the students who want to enter this high school. One of the real teachers asked me about a sentence that appeared on the test.The sentence is, "This was one of the most interesting activities I've ever had".

    The teacher knows and teaches the rule about using past perfect for actions that happen before another past action. But in this case, I can imagine kids or speakers of uncommon dialects speaking this way. I can't quite wrap my mind around whether or not this is grammatically OK or not. Is it grammatically OK to use either present perfect OR past perfect? Does it differ between SAE or SBE?

    Any hints are greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by marmoset; 08-Mar-2012 at 02:54. Reason: spacing

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: ...was...I've ever had.

    It's fine- an event in the past that stands out in my life, which is still going on so the present perfect brings the time up to now. The past perfect would push the time back- It was one of the worst things that had happened to me at school. (no longer at school)

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: ...was...I've ever had.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Good morning, Marmoset:

    (1) Here in the United States, many native speakers also have a "weak" grasp of the present perfect.

    (a) Not a few people will go to a movie, and as they leave the theater will remark to a friend:

    Wow! That was the best movie I ever saw. (instead of "I have ever seen [up to this point in my life]."

    (i) They do not realize that what they are saying is: I am never going to see another movie during the

    remainder of my life.

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: ...was...I've ever had.

    Quote Originally Posted by marmoset View Post
    Hi there.

    ...
    Today the real teachers are checking the exams of the students who want to enter this high school. One of the real teachers asked me about a sentence that appeared on the test.The sentence is, "This was one of the most interesting activities I've ever had".

    The teacher knows and teaches the rule about using past perfect for actions that happen before another past action. But in this case, I can imagine kids or speakers of uncommon dialects speaking this way. I can't quite wrap my mind around whether or not this is grammatically OK or not. Is it grammatically OK to use either present perfect OR past perfect? Does it differ between SAE or SBE?

    Any hints are greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.
    The rule doesn't require back-shifting* in this case. With back-shifting it means something else, as Tdol has said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It's fine- an event in the past that stands out in my life, which is still going on so the present perfect brings the time up to now. The past perfect would push the time back- It was one of the worst things that had happened to me at school. (no longer at school)

    b

    PS * This term is typically used in another context: "I can do it" -> 'He said he could do it'. I chose it because it refers to an automatic change in tense; there is NO need for such a change (an automatic one) in the case you cite.
    Last edited by BobK; 09-Mar-2012 at 20:40. Reason: PS added

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