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  1. #1
    hoangkha is offline Member
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    Default Could you please explain this sentence?

    Hi!
    I have seen the following sentence.
    - They gave me four very bad tyres. One of them burst before I had driven four miles. (Thomson&Martinet)
    I don't understand why the past perfect tense is used in before I had driven four miles.

    Could you please explain it?

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could you please explain this sentence?

    At the 4-mile mark, he could have said, "I have driven four miles".

    So, anybody reaching the four-mile mark had driven four miles.

    However, this poor chap had a burst tyore before he had driven four miles.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    chelsea92's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could you please explain this sentence?

    i also want to know about this sentence. could you explain it clearly ? please

  4. #4
    chelsea92's Avatar
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    Default could you explain this sentence ?

    They gave me four very bad tyres. One of them burst before i had driven four miles

    i don't understand why "
    One of them burst" tooks place before "i had driven four miles" but it is used as past tense and vice versa

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: could you explain this sentence ?

    This weird little bit of grammar has been discussed before, but I can't remember enough of the discussion to find the thread.

    You're right. Logically, the tire burst BEFORE the four-mile mark, so it makes sense the the past perfect should go with the bursting.

    However, we don't do it that way when when we want to express surprise that something happened before something else when that "something else" that SHOULD have taken place without incident.

    She stopped me before I had even read a full sentence.
    The tire burst before I had driven four miles.
    The boxer expected to win was knocked out before two rounds had been fought.

    Just file this in the box that says "Illogical parts of English" and don't think about it too much.

    Welcome to Using English.
    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.

  6. #6
    hoangkha is offline Member
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    Default Re: Could you please explain this sentence?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    At the 4-mile mark, he could have said, "I have driven four miles".

    So, anybody reaching the four-mile mark had driven four miles.

    However, this poor chap had a burst tyore before he had driven four miles.
    If it is rewritten as follows
    - They gave me four very bad tyres. One of them (had) burst before I drove four miles.
    Is it different from the original, please?

  7. #7
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could you please explain this sentence?

    I have merged the two threads.


    In the original: One of the tires burst before I had driven four miles -- The person never made it to the four-mile mark, because the tire burst and he couldn't continue.

    In your revision: One of the tires had burst before I drove four miles -- The tire burst, but the person continued driving (at least) to the four-mile mark.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 12-Jul-2012 at 16:52.
    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.

  8. #8
    chelsea92's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could you please explain this sentence?

    i understand your examples, it's very helpful for me. i have thought of it for several days :D
    and I have another question that i can use it with present tense and present perfect tense in daily living when i talk to someone or only in past tense

    for ex :
    She stops me before I have even read a full sentence.
    The tire bursts before I have driven four miles
    The boxer expected to win is knocked out before two rounds have been fought
    Last edited by chelsea92; 12-Jul-2012 at 17:34.

  9. #9
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could you please explain this sentence?

    Quote Originally Posted by chelsea92 View Post
    I understand your examples, it's very helpful for me. I have thought of it for several days :D
    and I have another question - that can I can use it with present tense and present perfect tense in daily living when I talk to someone or only in past tense?

    For example :
    She stops me before I have even read a full sentence.
    The tire bursts before I have driven four miles.
    The boxer expected to win is knocked out before two rounds have been fought.

    Please remember that, in written English, you must always capitalise the word "I" (first person singular pronoun). There are no exceptions to this rule.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 12-Jul-2012 at 23:51. Reason: punctuation missing
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  10. #10
    ~Mav~ is offline Member
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    Default Re: Could you please explain this sentence?

    *** NOT A TEACHER ***

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Please remember that in written English, you must always capitalise the word "I" (first person singular pronoun). There are no exceptions to this rule.
    This is a good, old rule. It probably came into practice before the wheel had been invented. (Obviously not, and I'm NOT mocking your instructive post! I merely provided another example of this kind of use of the Past Perfect.)
    Dear native English speakers of this forum,
    Please, always point out my grammatical mistakes, assuming you have "the time and the inclination". That is really the most effective way for me to improve. Thank you very much.

    Please note that I am NOT an English teacher.

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