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  1. #1
    tyrp is offline Junior Member
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    Default past perfect or past simple?

    Hello,
    Are the tenses used in the following sentence correct? Can we (or should we) use past simple in the because-clause? Will the change of tenses bring about a change of meaning? Were it the verb 'to come', I'd have no doubt that past perfect is a must, but with 'find oneself'... Isn't this verb close to 'be' in its semantics? And with 'be' only past simple will be correct! Thus, I've got perplexed. Help me out, please! Thanks in advance.
    At first he couldn't understand where he was because he had found himself in his friend's room.

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    Default Re: past perfect or past simple?

    The tenses you used are correct.

    Nevertheless I'm slightly unhappy with your sentence. The phrase had found himself sounds a bit unnatural in that it leaves one wondering how he came to find himself somewhere. Of course the context might explain that and if so, no change is needed.

    Without context one could rephrase it as "At first he couldn't understand where he was because he had awakened in his friend's room" to eliminate the slight uncertainty.

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    tyrp is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: past perfect or past simple?

    Thanks a lot. The sentence was given in a grammarbook in the exercise on opening the brackets and giving the correct tenses. It sounded strange to me too) But the question still remains open: can we use past simple instead or not?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: past perfect or past simple?

    You will hear people use the past simple in such cases. I don't like it myself, but can't say it is wrong because it is commonly heard. But the past perfect tense is logically and grammatically clearer to me.

    In my opinion some people have abandoned the past perfect tense completely (if indeed they ever knew it.)
    Last edited by probus; 17-Mar-2013 at 12:43.

  5. #5
    tyrp is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: past perfect or past simple?

    Thanks a million, dear probus!

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