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  1. #1
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    Default a tense question

    Dear teachers.

    He did not wish to die and I like to think he didn't know he was dying.
    But I knew I was deluding myself when I went to visit him that night right before his death.
    I came into his room, and for the first time in all the years I ( ) him there was tears in his eyes.
    I sat down beside him and waited a long time before I could say something.

    which tense is more correct, knew or had known in the parenthesis above?

    I wonder if both are correct or not.

    thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Grinkl; 31-Jan-2008 at 18:43.

  2. #2
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: a tense question

    I came into his room, and, for the first time in all the years I have known him, there were tears in his eyes.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: a tense question

    Quote Originally Posted by susiedqq View Post
    I came into his room, and, for the first time in all the years I have known him, there were tears in his eyes.
    i'm still wondering how "have known" is correct in the past basesd context.
    is past perfect "had known" wrong - i had known him before past because base tense is past.

    thank you for changing "were".

  4. #4
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    Default Re: a tense question

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinkl View Post
    Dear teachers.

    He did not wish to die and I like to think he didn't know he was dying.
    But I knew I was deluding myself when I went to visit him that night right before his death.
    I came into his room, and for the first time in all the years I ( ) him there was tears in his eyes.
    I sat down beside him and waited a long time before I could say something.

    which tense is more correct, knew or had known in the parenthesis above?

    I wonder if both are correct or not.

    thanks in advance!
    your help would be much appreciated.

  5. #5
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: a tense question

    Use I "have known" him because you knew him in the past, and still know
    him.

    "Had known" would be in the past, only.

  6. #6
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    Smile Re: a tense question

    The little boy is dirty from head to foot because he ____________ (play) in the mud.

    Which tense: present perfect simple or present perfect continuous is more frequently used here and what is the difference, if any.

    Thank you

  7. #7
    anna30 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: a tense question

    I'm not an expert but I'd use Present perfect continuous. That's what I was taught. In my grammar book (Advanced Language Practice) it says: Present perfect continuous can refer to (...) a recently finished activity).
    Let's wait for an expert opinion

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    Default Re: a tense question

    Quote Originally Posted by susiedqq View Post
    Use I "have known" him because you knew him in the past, and still know
    him.

    "Had known" would be in the past, only.
    In fact, the past perfect would be a lot more appropriate, for two reasons:

    1. We are retelling a story that happened in the past. The narrator's acquaintance with the man began before the story began, and continued up until the events described in the story. This is "before the past", and text books will tell you that this is exactly what the past perfect is used for. Put slightly differently, the present perfect links the past with the present, while the past perfect links the distant past with the more recent past. We don't know if the narrator still knows the man -- he may do, but it's not important to the story.

    2. The first point is enough for the past perfect to be recommended, but the present perfect would still be possible if the two people still know each other now. However, the text very strongly suggests that the man died some time in the past, and so it's unlikely that there is any more connection with the present.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: a tense question

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    In fact, the past perfect would be a lot more appropriate, for two reasons:

    1. We are retelling a story that happened in the past. The narrator's acquaintance with the man began before the story began, and continued up until the events described in the story. This is "before the past", and text books will tell you that this is exactly what the past perfect is used for. Put slightly differently, the present perfect links the past with the present, while the past perfect links the distant past with the more recent past. We don't know if the narrator still knows the man -- he may do, but it's not important to the story.

    2. The first point is enough for the past perfect to be recommended, but the present perfect would still be possible if the two people still know each other now. However, the text very strongly suggests that the man died some time in the past, and so it's unlikely that there is any more connection with the present.
    Thank you so much for your detailed and earnest explanation!!

  10. #10
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    Thumbs up Re: a tense question

    The little boy is dirty from head to foot because he ____________ (play) in the mud.

    Quote Originally Posted by anna30 View Post
    I'm not an expert but I'd use Present perfect continuous. That's what I was taught. In my grammar book (Advanced Language Practice) it says: Present perfect continuous can refer to (...) a recently finished activity).
    Let's wait for an expert opinion
    Completely agreed!

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