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    #1

    Question Strange sentence (past perfect tense)

    Hi, when I'm preparing the teaching material for past perfect tense, I come across this strange sentence: As I had seen the girl before, I recognized her at once.
    I can't fully understand the meaning of this sentence. This really confuses me a lot. How do you explain this sentence.
    For me, if I want to make a sentence like this, I will write the sentence in this way: I recognized the girl at once when I saw her.
    What do you think about it? Thanks for your reply.

  1. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Strange sentence (past perfect tense)

    Hi,

    My reading is that it means: Because I had seen the girl before, I reconized her at once". Maybe it you change the order (and make the necessary modifications) it is easier to see: I recognized the girl (her) at once as/because I had seen her (the girl) before.

    charliedeut
    Last edited by charliedeut; 18-Jul-2012 at 17:18.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  2. keannu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Strange sentence (past perfect tense)

    Not a teacher, but a fellow learner

    I don't think this is the problem of past perfect, but the meaning of "as". "As" is sometimes interpreted as "because" or "since". So this is a cause-and-effect structure.
    As I had seen the girl before, I recognized her at once.
    (Because I had seen the girl before, I could reconize her right away.)

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    #4

    Re: Strange sentence (past perfect tense)

    Quote Originally Posted by simile View Post
    Hi, when I'm preparing the teaching material for past perfect tense, I come across this strange sentence: As I had seen the girl before, I recognized her at once.
    I can't fully understand the meaning of this sentence. This really confuses me a lot. How do you explain this sentence.
    For me, if I want to make a sentence like this, I will write the sentence in this way: I recognized the girl at once when I saw her.
    What do you think about it? Thanks for your reply.
    The past perfect tense is used to say that an action is completed before a point of time in the past and after the main action is completed. In this sentence " I recognized her at once" is the point of time in the past but after the action 'seen' Therefore, this sentence has a correct meaning.
    compare: My father had built our house before I was born.
    When two actions take place together in the past, both verbs are given in the past tense.
    '
    I recognized the girl at once when I saw her.' In this sentence the main verb 'recognized' and 'saw' happened at the same time. This is a simple past tense construction.
    Last edited by Wilson Thilakaratna; 19-Jul-2012 at 06:59.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Strange sentence (past perfect tense)

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilson Thilakaratna View Post
    The past perfect tense is used to say that an action is completed before a point of time in the past and after the main action is completed.
    Not so. The past perfect is frequently used to show the completion of one action before a later past action or point in time, or to show that the duration of the earlier past action extended up to the later past action or time.

    As I had seen the girl before, I recognized her at once.

    We had lived there only two months when the accident happened.

    When the sequence of events is clear, we do not need to use the past perfect, but we can:

    My father (had) built our house before I was born.

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