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  1. #1
    jesicaporter is offline Newbie
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    Default Why we use 'Past Perfect' in two mini-story?

    Hello Teacher,
    Suppose we have two mini-story(A,B).
    Now i want to know why we use 'Past Perfect' tense when we want ask some questions about story?

    A-DEAR ABBY:
    I am a single woman in my early 30s who has never been married. I recently fell in love with a wonderful
    man with whom I spend a great deal of time...

    1-Had the woman been married? No. She hadn't been married. She had never been married.
    2-Did the woman hesitate or did the woman reveal her love? Well, the woman hesitated. She hesitated

    why writer use 'Past Perfect' on the sentence 1 and don't use 'past Perfect' on sebtence 2?

    B-Sara recently retired from her job of 23 years. Because she retired, Sara has less money than
    she used to...

    How long had sarah worked at her job?Sarah had worked at her job for 23 years.
    why writer use 'Past Perfect' on the above sentence?
    why writer didn't use 'present perfect' or 'simple past'?

    And Finally question, what does 'my early 30s' mean? it means she is more than 30 like 31 or 32 or 33 ... or she is less that 30 like 27 or 28 or 29

    Is it possible to describe in a clear and simple way because i am extremely confused of when using which tense in english language?
    And why Using them?

    Thanks in advanced.
    Last edited by jesicaporter; 29-Jul-2012 at 05:03.

  2. #2
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Why we use 'Past Perfect' in two mini-story?

    Quote Originally Posted by jesicaporter View Post
    Hello Teacher,
    Suppose we have two mini stories (A,B).
    Now I want to know why we use 'Past Perfect' tense when we want to ask some questions about stories?

    I'm not sure about this one. I'm also interested to hear native speakers' opinions.

    A-DEAR ABBY:
    I am a single woman in my early 30s who has never been married. I recently fell in love with a wonderful
    man with whom I spend a great deal of time...

    1-Had the woman been married? No. She hadn't been married. She had never been married.
    2-Did the woman hesitate or did the woman reveal her love? Well, the woman hesitated. She hesitated

    Why did the writer use 'Past Perfect' in the sentence 1, and not 'past perfect' in the sentence 2?

    Well, I personally think #1 should be in the present perfect, because the text is written in the present perfect.
    1-Has the woman been married? No. She hasn't been married. She has never been married.
    For #2, I'm not sure. If it is written in the past tense, the question should be in the past too, in my opinion.
    2-Did the woman hesitate or did the woman reveal her love? Well, the woman hesitated. She hesitated



    B-Sara recently retired from her job of 23 years. Because she retired, Sara has less money than
    she used to...

    How long had Sarah worked at her job? Sarah had worked at her job for 23 years.
    Why did the writer use 'Past Perfect' in the above sentence?

    Well, I think it should be in the past tense:
    How long did Sarah work at her job? She worked at her job for 23 years.
    I don't know why the 'writer' used the past perfect.

    Why didn't the writer use 'present perfect' or 'simple past'?

    "How long has Sarah worked...? (present perfect)" doesn't work because she doesn't work there any more.


    And the final question, what does 'my early 30s' mean? Does it mean she is more than 30 like 31 or 32 or 33 ... or she is less than 30 like 27 or 28 or 29?

    It means the former: "more than 30 like 31 or 32 or 33 ..."

    Is it possible to describe in a clear and simple way because I am extremely confused of when to use which tense in the English language? And why do you use them?

    It's a difficult question to answer. We have to master English tenses one by one.

    Thanks in advanced.
    Hello.
    My ideas are in red.
    Please wait for other teachers (native speakers) to respond.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Why we use 'Past Perfect' in two mini-story?

    I assume that the writers of the qestions are expecting students to demonstrate comprehension of the passage. The writers can choose between two possibilities:

    1. They can see the story as unfolding before our eyes, and ask, "Is she married?" "Has she ever been married?" "Does the woman hesitate?"
    2. They can see the story as relating events that took place in the past, and ask, "Was she married (at the time of the events of the story)?" "Had she been married (in the time period before and up to the time period of the events of the story)?" "Did she hesitate (at the time of these events)?"

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