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Thread: right tense

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    #1

    right tense

    Dear teachers,

    Would you please check if I put the verbs in the right tense ?

    When I 1 WAS a little boy, I 2 SMOKED / USED TO SMOKE (can we say “was smoking”?) cigarettes occasionally.

    I 3 HAD STOPPED / STOPPED smoking completely before I 4 REACHED the age of 15.

    We 5 LIVED / WERE LIVING / USED TO LIVE by the sea in those days and my brother and I often 6 WALKED / USED TO WALK along the beach to a deserted spot where we 7 SMOKED / USED TO SMOKE our cigarettes in secret.

    My big brother 8 USED TO STEAL cigarettes from my father’s pocket while he 9 WAS SLEEPING.

    At that time, my father 10 SMOKED / USED TO SMOKE / WAS SMOKING more than 40 cigarettes a day and he never 11 NOTICED / USED TO NOTICE when Jack 12 TOOK a few from one of his pockets.

    One day my father 13 SAW us while we 14 WERE SMOKING on the beach, but to our surprise, he only 15 SMILED and 16 SAID nothing.

    After that we 17 BOUGHT / USED TO BUY cigarettes from time to time and although our smoking 18 WAS no longer a secret, we still 19 WENT / USED TO GO to our favourite spot to smoke them.

    A few months later, however, we 20 LOST interest and I have never smoked since then.

    Thank you very much indeed.
    Hela

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    #2

    Re: right tense

    All correct and it is possible to use 'were smoking' in the first, though it might sound a bit informal to some.

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    #3

    Re: right tense

    Thanks TDOL and all the best,

    Hela

    PS: Do you know where I can get (on the web) PARAGRAPHS like this one that I can use as exercises for tenses, modals, articles, quantifiers, etc?
    Last edited by hela; 10-Jan-2005 at 18:58.

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    #4

    Red face Re: right tense

    Let's have an argument.

    In the first one, I would say:
    When I was a little boy I used to smoke cigarettes occasionally.

    Or:

    I used to smoke cirarettes occasionally when I was a little boy.

    (I were smoking? )
    For the second one, I would say:
    I stopped smoking completely before I reached the age of fifteen.

    Or:

    I had stopped smoking completely by the time I had reached the age of fifteen.
    For the third one, I would say:
    We lived by the sea in those days, and my brother and I often walked along the beach to a deserted spot where we SMOKED our cigarettes in secret.
    Re:
    My big brother 8 USED TO STEAL cigarettes from my father’s pocket while he 9 WAS SLEEPING.
    That's okay, except who was sleeping? (Who does he refer to?)

    The fifth sentence:
    At that time, my father 10 SMOKED / USED TO SMOKE / WAS SMOKING more than 40 cigarettes a day and he never 11 NOTICED / USED TO NOTICE when Jack 12 TOOK a few from one of his pockets.

    The phrase At that time puts the sentence in the past tense, so used to smoke is unnecessary. Also, never used to notice strongly implies that while he didn't notice it then he does now.

    The seventh sentence:
    After that we 17 BOUGHT / USED TO BUY cigarettes from time to time and although our smoking 18 WAS no longer a secret, we still 19 WENT / USED TO GO to our favourite spot to smoke them.
    I would say:
    After that, we bought cigarettes from time to time, and although our smoking was no longer a secret, we still went to our favorite spot to smoke them.

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    #5

    Re: right tense

    That's very interesting RonBee! Thank you for all your comments.

    As for sentence 4, there might be a lack of coherence here but doesn't a pronoun modify the noun that directly (which adverb would be best?) precedes it?

    Is there anyone out there who would have some further comments?

    Thanks again,
    Best regards,
    Hela

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    #6

    Re: right tense

    Obviously, the boy didn't steal cigarettes from his father's pockets while the boy was sleeping. However, as a general rule, to avoid ambiguity, I would say, for example, "He stole cigarettes from his father's pockets while his father was sleeping."

    As a general rule, avoid ambiguity and strive for clarity. In the sentence "He drove while he was drunk" it is clear who the second "he" refers to. However, in the sentence "He hit the man while he was drunk" it is not entirely clear who the second "he" refers to. Thus, that sentence should be changed.

    Hm. I hope that was helpful.


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    #7

    Re: right tense

    Yes, very much so.

    Have a nice day RonBee (11/1),
    Hela

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    #8

    Cool Re: right tense

    Quote Originally Posted by hela
    Yes, very much so.

    Have a nice day RonBee (11/1),
    Hela
    Thanks. I will.



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    #9

    Re: right tense

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    Let's have an argument.

    In the first one, I would say:
    [indent]When I was a little boy I used to smoke cigarettes occasionally.

    Or:

    I used to smoke cirarettes occasionally when I was a little boy.

    (I were smoking? )
    That sounds like South-West English dialect to me :

    "When Oi were a young lad, I were smoking the odd cigarette off 'n on."
    (This isn't meant to be grammatical English by the way )

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