Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    joham is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default to lock/ to have locked

    The following is one of China's provinces' college entrance examination question:
    You were silly not _____ your car.
    A. to lock B. to have locked C. locking D. having locked

    (The given answer is B.)

    I would think A is the correct answer and simpler and there's no need to say 'to have locked' since the tense 'were' indicates the action 'lock' happened in the past. Am I right?

    Could I ask native English speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: to lock/ to have locked

    "You were silly not to lock your car" means that the person didn't lock his/her car but should have done so. "You were silly not to have locked your car" means nothing.

  3. #3
    joham is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: to lock/ to have locked

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    "You were silly not to lock your car" means that the person didn't lock his/her car but should have done so. "You were silly not to have locked your car" means nothing.
    Thank you, Ronbee. By saying '"You were silly not to have locked your car" means nothing.', you are saying this sentence is wrong, aren't you?
    Hoping you can help me further. Thank you again.
    joham

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,425
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: to lock/ to have locked

    The person was not 'silly' for not locking his car - he was silly for what is implied and foreseen as the consequences of this action for the future: he's leaving his car vulnerable to theft. The tense that links an action in the past to the present and future in terms of its effects is present perfect tense.

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: to lock/ to have locked

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Thank you, Ronbee. By saying '"You were silly not to have locked your car" means nothing.', you are saying this sentence is wrong, aren't you?
    Yes, if by "wrong" you mean it is not used and thus has no meaning.


    I agree with David L. that "silly" is not the best choice. Perhaps:
    It was foolish of you to leave your car unlocked. It might be stolen.

Similar Threads

  1. be locked against
    By HaraKiriBlade in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 22-Feb-2008, 00:28
  2. lock name
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 16-May-2007, 15:56
  3. get locked in
    By NewHope in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 28-Aug-2006, 14:30
  4. square-locked or square locked?
    By Kerstin in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Jan-2005, 01:09
  5. Caps Lock
    By jack in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 23-Dec-2004, 03:19

Posting Permissions

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