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  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default choice of tenses: Julie

    Dear teachers,

    Would you please tell me which of the following tenses or prepositions are correct, and why should one choose one instead of the other?

    “Julie had been walking for hours when she suddenly noticed that the sun was sinking in the sky. She had lost track of time because she had been thinking about the most important decision she (1. make + ever) would ever have to make in her life [is it possible to use a modal here instead of “would”?].

    Things had not been the same between Julie and her fiancé, David, since he (2. accept) accepted / had accepted a job in Paris. They had known each other for almost five years, and (3) in / at that time, they had never argued much. Lately, though, their relationship (4. become) became / had become stormy. They seemed to be finding fault with each other and disagreeing about everything. For the first time, she (5. start) started / was starting to wonder if she (5. be) was ready for marriage [how would you explain the use of the simple past of the indicative here after “if”?]. And with the wedding only twenty days away, she (6. modal + make) needed to / had to make up her mind soon [is “need to” considered as a modal / semi-modal?].
    Everything in Julie’s life had been going well until her world fell apart just a month before. A large company (7. offer) offered / had offered David an important position that would require him to move to France. Was Julie ready to move halfway across the world, leaving behind her friends and family? If the answer (8. be) was no [same question as in #5], was she ready to say goodbye to the only man she had ever loved?

    Best regards,
    Hela

  2. #2
    InPerfectEnglish is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: choice of tenses: Julie

    Hello hela!

    To answer your question:

    1. Fine as is, or you could say "would ever make" (omitting the "have"). Both sound good to me. And "would" already is a modal verb.
    2. Both are correct (As a general note, when you use the past participle tense ("had accepted") you're generally emphasizing that something in the past is now affecting the present. But the choice is up to you -- they sound equally natural.)
    3. "in" NOT "at". The expression "in that time" is the same as "during" that time". Saying "at that time" means RIGHT NOW, AT THIS EXACT MOMENT.
    4. Had become.
    5. Both are correct.
    6. Both are correct.
    7. Both are correct, although I personally would choose "had offered" because it emphasizes that something that happened in the past is now affecting Julie and David's relationship in the present.
    8. Regarding the question in #8 and #5, I believe that the simple past is used here because it's part of a conditional clause. So it's not that an action actually occured in the past, it's just that this is the sentence structure that is used in English (and many other languages) to express that this is a hypothetical situation ( ie conditional).
    **Maybe so other members can explain better than I?

    Best to you in your English endeavors!

    In Perfect English

  3. #3
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: choice of tenses: Julie

    Good morning, InPerfectEnglish

    (1) I didn't express myself well. It's true that "have to" is already a modal. Now, according to you these 3 choices of tenses are correct?

    she had been thinking about the most important decision she (1. make + ever) in her life.

    she a) would ever have to make / b) would ever make / c) had ever had to make in her life.

    (5b + 8) I suppose "WAS" refers to a possibility in the past as opposed to "WERE" which refers to an improbable action in the past.

    One more question, please. In the last paragraph, which time expression could be added to the following sentence to show that the action occurs in the "future in the past"?

    "A large company (7. offer) had offered David an important position that would require him to move to France "two months later". (??)

    Thank you very much indeed for your help.

    Have a nice weekend
    Hela





  4. #4
    InPerfectEnglish is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: choice of tenses: Julie

    (1) a,b,c are all correct. Using "have" in (a) implies that it's a choice she must make, and (c) is in the past tense and therefore puts the story in the past tense.

    Regarding your last question: the sentence you have sounds fine, as it (to my ears, atleast) expresses "in the future in the past". You could also say "...an important decision that will require/requires him to move..." Personally, I would leave the sentence as it.

    Best,

    In Perfect English

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