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Thread: spoken or spoke

  1. #1
    MsNyree is offline Member
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    Default spoken or spoke

    I had spoken or I spoke

    When you are talking about past tense, which should I use?

  2. #2
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: spoken or spoke

    Quote Originally Posted by MsNyree View Post
    I had spoken or I spoke

    When you are talking about past tense, which should I use?
    They have different meanings. Check the difference between simple past tense and past participle.

  3. #3
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: spoken or spoke

    Quote Originally Posted by MsNyree View Post
    I had spoken or I spoke

    When you are talking about past tense, which should I use?
    I spoke about it two meetings ago.
    I had spoken about it two meetings ago.

    I don't think there is any difference in meaning.
    I would just use simple past tense.

  4. #4
    Harry Smith's Avatar
    Harry Smith is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: spoken or spoke

    Quote Originally Posted by MsNyree View Post
    I had spoken or I spoke

    When you are talking about past tense, which should I use?
    Here you have two diferrent tenses. When you say "I spoke to him an hour ago" you mean you did something in the past. But when you say "I had spoken to him by the time I met you" you mean you had already spoken before meeting.

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    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: spoken or spoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    Here you have two diferrent tenses. When you say "I spoke to him an hour ago" you mean you did something in the past. But when you say "I had spoken to him by the time I met you" you mean you (had already spoken)(spoke) before meeting.
    Of course you used two different sentences, and what you demonstrated is that the simple past and past perfect can have different associated grammar.

    I had spoken to him by the time I met you.
    I spoke to him before I met you.

    But you could also say 'I had spoken to him before I met you.' if you want to be wordy.

    Offhand, I can't think of a situation in which one would have to use "had spoken".

  6. #6
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    Default Re: spoken or spoke

    2006:Offhand, I can't think of a situation in which one would have to use "had spoken".

    I had spoken at Feminist Meetings a couple of times, but you can understand just how nervous I was about this one, with the Gloria Steinham being on the rostrum also.

    (I don't know how these sentences pop into my head - what the hell do I know about Feminist Meetings?)
    Last edited by David L.; 14-Mar-2009 at 18:59.

  7. #7
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: spoken or spoke

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Offhand, I can't think of a situation in which one would have to use "had spoken".
    He said we could have a talk when we had had dinner. (=after dinner)
    He said we could have a talk when we had dinner. (=at dinner)

  8. #8
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: spoken or spoke

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    2006:Offhand, I can't think of a situation in which one would have to use "had spoken".

    I had spoken at Feminist Meetings a couple of times, but you can understand just how nervous I was about this one, with the Gloria Steinham being on the rostrum also.
    I agree that in David's sentence you can't just substitute "spoke" for "had spoken" and still keep the meaning as clear.

    I did say "situation" in my statement above, and I think that was in response to Charlie's statement that "They have different meanings.", with the implication that the meanings are always different.

    You could use simple past tense of the verb 'speak' in most or all situations, but you would have to make changes in the rest of the sentence to fit the difference in grammar between simple past and past perfect. (as in my prior examples)

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