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    #1

    perfect tense or past tense?

    Hello,

    What tense is more suitable for this sentence?

    1. When I went out of the house, Nelson's car had not been around.
    2. When I went out of the house, Nelson's car was not around.

    Maybe, someone can help me further improve these sentences to indicate the absence of the car as I failed to find the right words.

    Thanks.


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    #2

    Re: perfect tense or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    Hello,

    What tense is more suitable for this sentence?

    1. When I went out of the house, Nelson's car had not been around.
    2. When I went out of the house, Nelson's car was not around.

    Maybe, someone can help me further improve these sentences to indicate the absence of the car as I failed to find the right words.

    Thanks.
    Number two is more correct here. However, as I say "more correct", I would change it.

    When I left the house, Nelson's car was not around. - This means you observed that Nelson's car was not in the area when you left the house. These two things happened at the same time.

    When I left the house, Nelson had already left. His car wasn't around. - This means Nelson left before you left the house, which would, of course, mean that his car was not in the area - not around - before you left the house.

    The phrase "out of the house" emphasizes the idea of not being surrounded by four walls and a roof or a ceiling. Here's how you could use it:

    He went out of the house without a jacket and it was freezing cold.
    The sun is shining. It's a great day. You should get out of the house.

    Keep Mice Out of the House Without Using Pesticides.

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    #3

    Re: perfect tense or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    Hello,

    What tense is more suitable for this sentence?

    1. When I went out of the house, Nelson's car had not been around.
    2. When I went out of the house, Nelson's car was not around.

    Maybe, someone can help me further improve these sentences to indicate the absence of the car as I failed to find the right words.

    Thanks.
    PROESL already answered. I will also answer but from a different angle.

    PROESL made the assumption that Nelson was with his car, which is in fact a likely scenario but is not the only possibility.

    I don't know if those are your sentences, but it's interesting that you specified "the absence of the car" and ignored Nelson.
    So I'll ignore Nelson too and just talk about his car. Maybe someone else was supposed to return Nelson's car to the place where "I" was.
    So #2, "When I went out of the house, Nelson's car was not around." is correct. In this scenario, ignoring Nelson, no changes are needed.


    Under the following less-likely scenario, #1 would be correct.
    It snowed last night and there is fresh snow on the ground. When "I" went outside, there were no tire tracks in the snow. So we know that no cars had been around, including Nelson's car which we were expecting to arrive at some time.
    "When I went out of the house, Nelson's car had not been around."
    Last edited by 2006; 20-Sep-2009 at 01:51.

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    #4

    Re: perfect tense or past tense?

    So, since i carried out both actions at the same time, the simple past tense should be used. Unless I write it this way,

    e.g. 'When i came home, Nelson had already left the house', the past perfect tense should be used instead.

    Thanks.


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    #5

    Re: perfect tense or past tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    Hello,

    What tense is more suitable for this sentence?

    1. When I went out of the house, Nelson's car had not been around.

    2. When I went out of the house, Nelson's car was not around.

    Maybe, someone can help me further improve these sentences to indicate the absence of the car as I failed to find the right words.

    Thanks.
    Isn't the issue simply one of meaning?

    In number 1, "had not been around" is suggestive of a length of time and it sounds a bit odd paired with a verb form, "went out of the house", that is not durative in nature.

    If we used a durative verb form,

    1. When/Because I watched all afternoon from the house, I knew that Nelson's car had not been around.

    In number 2,

    2. When I went out of the house, Nelson's car was not around.

    the two events match.
    Last edited by albeit; 20-Sep-2009 at 15:43.

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