Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
  1. #1
    Astro-D Guest

    Hello, teachers. I have a question.

    Hello, teachers. I have a question.

    Could I say "I lost the umbrella which I bought the bay before." , when I want to say "I lost the umbrella which I had bought the bay before." ?
    And, could I say "I knew that my mother was a nurse." , when I want to say "He knew that my mother had been a nurse." ?

    Thank you for your time.
    Astro-D

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    103
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Hello, teachers. I have a question.

    Hi Astro
    When you say 'bay' I presume you mean 'day'.
    The first two sentences are correct, I suppose. You could use either the past simple or the past perfect. Both sentences make sense. I prefer the second one ' I lost the umbrella I had bought the day before', but I'm sure many people would say 'I lost the umbrella I bought the day before'. But then I'm old-fashioned and I still 'feel' that when you speak in the past and want to go to a previous past, you should use the past perfect.
    There is a difference between the second pair of sentences.
    'I /He knew that my mother was a nurse' means that your mother was (and may still be) a nurse at some time and 'He' knew it at the same time.
    'He knew that my mother had been a nurse' means that He knew (at some point in the past) that your mother had been a nurse sometime before then, not at the same time.
    I hope I haven't confused you.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,961
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Hello, teachers. I have a question.

    "I knew that my mother was a nurse." = she was working at that time
    "He knew that my mother had been a nurse." that she was no longer working at that time


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    103
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Hello, teachers. I have a question.

    You do that on purpose, don't you Tdol?
    But what about this one: 'I knew you were here.' That doesn't necessarily refer to the past, even though the tense is past. It has the same construction as 'I knew that my mother was a nurse', so don't you think that the mother being a nurse could also be a present situation?

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,961
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Hello, teachers. I have a question.

    The past can refer to the past, the present or the future. The use in 'I knew you were here' when you're talking to the person who is is here would, I suppose, be chosen because the knowledge was past. You could also say 'I knew you would be here' which would give the idea of the future in the past. :D

  6. #6
    Astro-D Guest

    Re: Hello, teachers. I have a question.

    Hi, Lib. Hi, tdol.
    I'm sorry. I submitted a wrong contribution. I think I should have checked my sentences. And, thank you for the correction. The right contribution is,
    ----------------------------------------
    Hello, teachers. I have a question.
    Could I say "I lost the umbrella which I bought the day before." , when I want to say "I lost the umbrella which I had bought the day before." ?
    And, could I say "He knew that my mother was a nurse." , when I want to say "He knew that my mother had been a nurse." ?
    Thank you for your time.
    Astro-D
    ----------------------------------------
    The first two sentences are correct, I suppose. You could use either the past simple or the past perfect. Both sentences make sense. I prefer the second one ' I lost the umbrella I had bought the day before', but I'm sure many people would say 'I lost the umbrella I bought the day before'. But then I'm old-fashioned and I still 'feel' that when you speak in the past and want to go to a previous past, you should use the past perfect.
    There is a difference between the second pair of sentences.
    'I /He knew that my mother was a nurse' means that your mother was (and may still be) a nurse at some time and 'He' knew it at the same time.
    'He knew that my mother had been a nurse' means that He knew (at some point in the past) that your mother had been a nurse sometime before then, not at the same time.
    Then, when you speak in the past and want to go to a previouseus past, you should basically use the past perfect. But, in paticular sentences, you could use either the past simple or the past perfect, you mean?

    Thank you for your time.
    Astro-D

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,961
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Hello, teachers. I have a question.

    If the order is obvious, we often just use the past, especially in informal English. With before and after, for instance, where the order is obvious, we often stick with the past simple. :o

  8. #8
    Astro-D Guest

    Re: Hello, teachers. I have a question.

    Hi, tdol.
    If the order is obvious, we often just use the past, especially in informal English. With before and after, for instance, where the order is obvious, we often stick with the past simple.
    I see.
    If the order is obvious,
    "I lost the umbrella which I had bought the day before." and "I lost the umbrella which I bought the day before." have the same meaning.
    And, "He left home after he had finished his homework." and "He left home after he finished his homework." have the same meaning.

    But, "He knew that my mother had been a nurse." could not be "He knew that my mother was a nurse." even if the order is obvious.
    Right?

    Thank you for your time.
    Astro-D :)

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,961
    Post Thanks / Like
    In the examples you give, the tense is important because there is nothing to indicate the order, so it is only through the tense that we can see whether she still works as a nurse or not.

  10. #10
    lucyarliwu Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    In the examples you give, the tense is important because there is nothing to indicate the order, so it is only through the tense that we can see whether she still works as a nurse or not.

    So I can also say it like the following,right?

    "He knew that my mother is a nurse!"

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Tag question
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 17-Jun-2004, 11:11
  2. Ambiguous Question Interpretation
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 24-Apr-2004, 00:47
  3. Dear teachers, I need help with correcting an Ans to a Q?Thx
    By Helped Wanted in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 27-Jan-2004, 22:06
  4. teachers Department Affaris or Division Affairs?
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Mar-2003, 22:53
  5. my question again!
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 20-Nov-2002, 23:39

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •