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    #1

    past perfect or past tense?

    Start with an example like: Since she was a little girl, Mary wanted a garden to tend. Imagine her delight when she found the door to the locked, dead, garden. Her dreams HAD COME true.

    Shouldn't the part in bold be came?

    I'm confused, please help!

    Thanks

    Kiran

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    #2

    Re: past perfect or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiranlegend View Post
    Start with an example like: Since she was a little girl, Mary wanted a garden to tend. Imagine her delight when she found the door to the locked, dead, garden. Her dreams HAD COME true.
    Don't put commas after adjectives.
    Shouldn't the part in bold be came? Both are okay.

    I'm confused, please help!

    Thanks

    Kiran
    2006

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: past perfect or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiranlegend View Post
    Start with an example like: Since she was a little girl, Mary wanted a garden to tend. Imagine her delight when she found the door to the locked, dead, garden. Her dreams HAD COME true.

    Shouldn't the part in bold be came?

    I'm confused, please help!

    Thanks

    Kiran
    No, in this context "had come" is correct. "Came" is a poor second choice.
    Using 'came', we have a simple time line, with no obvious causation or connection:
    Mary had some dreams, she found a garden, her dreams came true, ...
    In fact, her dreams coming true occurred simultaneously with her finding the garden. Finding the garden was the cause of her dreams coming true.
    She found a garden. By finding the garden, her dreams came true. BUT, at any time after she found the garden, her dreams had come true already. Since this is a narrative, referring to her dreams in the past perfect after narrating "She found the garden" implies and explains that finding the garden was the cause of her dreams having come true.

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    #4

    Re: past perfect or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    No, in this context "had come" is correct. "Came" is a poor second choice.
    Using 'came', we have a simple time line, with no obvious causation or connection:
    Mary had some dreams, she found a garden, her dreams came true, ...
    In fact, her dreams coming true occurred simultaneously with her finding the garden. Finding the garden was the cause of her dreams coming true.
    She found a garden. By finding the garden, her dreams came true. BUT, at any time after she found the garden, her dreams had come true already. Since this is a narrative, referring to her dreams in the past perfect after narrating "She found the garden" implies and explains that finding the garden was the cause of her dreams having come true.
    I disagree, but I am tired of discussing simple past tense and perfect tense.

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    #5

    Re: past perfect or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    I disagree, but I am tired of discussing simple past tense and perfect tense.
    I thought you would. And I imagine you are.


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    #6

    Re: past perfect or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    No, in this context "had come" is correct. "Came" is a poor second choice.
    I disagree, Raymott. I don't think there is any reason to stipulate the past perfect as correct. While I think I could be convinced that the PP may be a more felicitous choice, the simple past is also a correct choice.


    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Using 'came', we have a simple time line, with no obvious causation or connection:
    Mary had some dreams, she found a garden, her dreams came true, ...
    In fact, her dreams coming true occurred simultaneously with her finding the garden. Finding the garden was the cause of her dreams coming true.
    She found a garden. By finding the garden, her dreams came true.
    Haven't you just negated your first sentence in this quote box with your explanation? You showed us/You have shown us the connection and you've used/you used the simple past to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    BUT, at any time after she found the garden, her dreams had come true already. Since this is a narrative, referring to her dreams in the past perfect after narrating "She found the garden" implies and explains that finding the garden was the cause of her dreams having come true.
    I'm afraid that I don't find this argument very compelling, or maybe I'm missing something. The simple past, as you explained above, does the same thing.

    [I think we could use a 'had' where I've added one.]

    Since she was a little girl, Mary had wanted a garden to tend. Imagine her delight when she found the door to the locked, dead garden. Her dreams HAD COME true.

    If we added 'that day', I think it would make the simple past even more appropriate.

    Since she was a little girl, Mary wanted a garden to tend. Imagine her delight when she found the door to the locked, dead, garden. Her dreams came true that day.

    Let me suggest, and it's only a suggestion, that the present perfect is sometimes used to add the same sense of importance that the present perfect can add.

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    #7

    Re: past perfect or past tense?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Raymott
    No, in this context "had come" is correct. "Came" is a poor second choice.

    I disagree, Raymott. I don't think there is any reason to stipulate the past perfect as correct. While I think I could be convinced that the PP may be a more felicitous choice, the simple past is also a correct choice.

    OK, maybe the perfect tenses have fallen out of fashion in Canada.
    "Came" is certainly grammatical here. It just doesn't have the semantic force that the author obviously intends with "had come".


    Can you see any difference here?:
    The Princess walked down the aisle with the Prince. The moment she had been dreaming of had finally come. / finally came.

    If you see no difference, there's probably no point arguing. It can't be argued from grammar. If this sensitivity to nuance has been lost in Canada, explanations will not restore it.
    To me, "came" just doesn't cut it.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Raymott
    Using 'came', we have a simple time line, with no obvious causation or connection:
    Mary had some dreams, she found a garden, her dreams came true, ...
    In fact, her dreams coming true occurred simultaneously with her finding the garden. Finding the garden was the cause of her dreams coming true.
    She found a garden. By finding the garden, her dreams came true.


    Haven't you just negated your first sentence in this quote box with your explanation? You showed us/You have shown us the connection and you've used/you used the simple past to do so.

    Yes I have, but I've rephrased the sentence. What we were originally dealing with was a binary choice between came/had come in a specific setting. I didn't mean to imply that you always had to use the past perfect to describes dreams that come true.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Raymott
    BUT, at any time after she found the garden, her dreams had come true already. Since this is a narrative, referring to her dreams in the past perfect after narrating "She found the garden" implies and explains that finding the garden was the cause of her dreams having come true.

    I'm afraid that I don't find this argument very compelling, or maybe I'm missing something. The simple past, as you explained above, does the same thing.

    The argument isn't meant to be compelling to a person who disagrees with this correct use of the tense. What I have done is asserted that the past perfect is the correct choice here, then given an off-the-cuff explanation for one way in which it could be seen to be correct.
    I could probably do better with the explanation. But the fact itself is correct.

    [I think we could use a 'had' where I've added one.]

    Since she was a little girl, Mary had wanted a garden to tend. Imagine her delight when she found the door to the locked, dead garden. Her dreams HAD COME true.

    Yes, I agree. I (had) thought of that too.

    If we added 'that day', I think it would make the simple past even more appropriate.

    I agree it would make it acceptable. But we're dealing with the passage as it stands.

    Since she was a little girl, Mary wanted a garden to tend. Imagine her delight when she found the door to the locked, dead, garden. Her dreams came true that day.

    Yes, quite acceptable. I can see you have some reservations about how it sounds without "that day". Can you explain them?


    Let me suggest, and it's only a suggestion, that the present perfect is sometimes used to add the same sense of importance that the present perfect can add.

    Can you give an example?


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    #8

    Re: past perfect or past tense?

    Raymott = blue

    Albeit = red

    Raymott: OK, maybe the perfect tenses have fallen out of fashion in Canada.
    "Came" is certainly grammatical here. It just doesn't have the semantic force that the author obviously intends with "had come".


    Can you see any difference here?:
    The Princess walked down the aisle with the Prince. The moment she had been dreaming of had finally come. / finally came.

    If you see no difference, there's probably no point arguing. It can't be argued from grammar. If this sensitivity to nuance has been lost in Canada, explanations will not restore it.
    To me, "came" just doesn't cut it.

    The argument isn't meant to be compelling to a person who disagrees with this correct use of the tense. What I have done is asserted that the past perfect is the correct choice here, then given an off-the-cuff explanation for one way in which it could be seen to be correct.
    I could probably do better with the explanation. But the fact itself is correct.



    Albeit replies: I'd say that we're very close to agreement, Raymott. I thought I stated that the PP was the more felicitous of the two. It has nothing to do with dialectal differences; 2006 is from Canada and he/she thought both would work too.

    I just happen to think that "correct" is a misleading term for ESLs. By your own admission, the one with the simple past is grammatical. If it's grammatical then it's correct. Obviously there are reasons we sometimes choose the past perfect. If there weren't, the structure wouldn't exist.



    Albeit wrote before: [I think we could use a 'had' where I've added one.]

    Since she was a little girl, Mary had wanted a garden to tend. Imagine her delight when she found the door to the locked, dead garden. Her dreams HAD COME true.


    Raymott: Yes, I agree. I (had) thought of that too.


    Albeit wrote before: If we added 'that day', I think it would make the simple past even more appropriate.

    Raymott:
    I agree it would make it acceptable. But we're dealing with the passage as it stands.


    Albeit: Agreed, we are, but I think it's helpful to ESLs to understand the nuances for using these various structures. I don't claim to know what they all are, in fact, I can say that I'm constantly puzzled by how semantic changes affect choice of grammar.

    If you read my mental wanderings in the thread,


    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...colors-ra.html

    you'd/you'll know what I mean. And another, in Bouji's thread that I bookmarked because part of Ann's reply hit me like a brick.


    Since she was a little girl, Mary wanted a garden to tend. Imagine her delight when she found the door to the locked, dead, garden. Her dreams came true that day.

    Raymott:
    Yes, quite acceptable. I can see you have some reservations about how it sounds without "that day". Can you explain them?


    Albeit:I think that my reservations are the same as yours. It seems to call for the past perfect. Though "seems to call for" works well for you, me and other ENLs, it doesn't really help ESLs.

    And I wish I could explain them but right now, I'm not sure I can.



    Albeit wrote before: Let me suggest, and it's only a suggestion, that the present perfect is sometimes used to add the same sense of importance that the present perfect can add.

    Raymott: Can you give an example?

    Albeit: You gave a grand example with the Princess/Prince sentence. The difference I see, which I mentioned above, is a highlighting / adding a smidgen, or more, of importance/ giving it a boost / spicing it up; all these things make it stand apart from the simple past - a mere recitation of fact.

    What difference did you see in your Princess/Prince example ?

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    #9

    Re: past perfect or past tense?

    Suppose it's my lifelong ambition to visit Japan. When I'm in Tokyo I might say something like 'Oh, I'm so excited, my dream has come true.'
    When narrating this situation in the past I would say: 'I was so excited; my dream had come true'
    It's as simple as that!

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    #10

    Re: past perfect or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by wace View Post
    Suppose it's my lifelong ambition to visit Japan. When I'm in Tokyo I might say something like 'Oh, I'm so excited, my dream has come true.'
    When narrating this situation in the past I would say: 'I was so excited; my dream had come true'
    It's as simple as that!
    Exactly wace! Excellent explanation, and what I was looking for.
    You have to read the story from Mary's perspective. Obviously it's in 3rd person, but from her focus, you'd write "She was so excited; her dream had come true".

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