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  1. yuriya's Avatar
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      • Korean
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      • South Korea
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    #1

    Smile pseudo-cleft sentence

    One thing we didn't do was rushed into anything serious.

    This is a sentence I've come across surfing the net today. It is kind of interesting because I've always felt that using infinitives in the pseudo-cleft sentence is a bit odd when its tense is in the past. For example:

    1. All I want to do is have some fun.
    2. All I did was have some fun.

    I think it's pretty neat to use an infinitive (bare infinitives to be exact) in sentence 1 because the infinitive (have some fun) is about something in the future, that is, something to be done not something which happened already. But with sentence 2, I feel it's really odd not saying "had some fun" there because that's what happened, not what's to happen. Well, the answer may be as simple as did have some fun being split (cleft) with be-verb in the middle. What's your take on this?

    I agree with peanut_mcgillicuty. I started to date my SO right after a breakup of a very long-term relationship. We had been friends for years and the stars just seemed to be aligned. One thing we didn't do was rushed into anything serious. We didn't even tell anyone for months that we were together because we didn't want to deal with the questions or the pressure. We just hung out like we had before, going to the movies, going to eat...and then had our private time by ourselves. Depending on how the breakup happened and who broke up with who, you could have lucked out and she could have been done with that relationship well before it actually ended. Just keep things friendly, no pressure and no labels. I am sure she enjoyed hanging out with you because, like most long term relationships and the breakups that go with them, being with you was a breath of fresh air. Keep things lighthearted and let her, as Holywood states, "sort her shit out."

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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      • British English
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      • UK
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    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,902
    #2

    Re: pseudo-cleft sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by yuriya View Post
    One thing we didn't do was rushed into anything serious.

    This is a sentence I've come across surfing the net today. It is kind of interesting because I've always felt that using infinitives in the pseudo-cleft sentence is a bit odd when its tense is in the past. For example:

    1. All I want to do is have some fun.
    2. All I did was have some fun.

    I think it's pretty neat to use an infinitive (bare infinitives to be exact) in sentence 1 because the infinitive (have some fun) is about something in the future, that is, something to be done not something which happened already. But with sentence 2, I feel it's really odd not saying "had some fun" there because that's what happened, not what's to happen. Well, the answer may be as simple as did have some fun being split (cleft) with be-verb in the middle. What's your take on this?
    My only take on this is simply that if I had seen that sentence posted on here, I would have immediately corrected it to:

    The one thing we didn't do was rush into anything serious.

    I understand, I think, why it would seem more logical to continue with the past tense, but if you break it down like this:

    "There was one thing we didn't do."
    "What didn't you do"
    "We didn't rush into anything serious"

    ...then perhaps you can see how it works. I'm afraid I know nothing about cleft or pseudo-cleft sentences, but "didn't rush" is the relevant verb here, and is the correct negative past tense.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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      • Australia
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    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,104
    #3

    Re: pseudo-cleft sentence

    In short, when you have 'did' in the past tense, the main verb takes the form of the bare infinitive.

    We rushed = We did rush.
    We rushed not [unusual] = We didn't rush.

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