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    • Join Date: May 2010
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    #1

    Past Perfect

    What are the differences between these sentences?

    I had never read Shakespeare until I started high school.
    I never read Shakespeare until I started high school.


    Jane lost the watch which she had bought the day before.
    Jane lost the watch which she bought the day before.


    For some time, I had wanted to do some kind of sport.
    For some time, I wanted to do some kind of sport.

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    #2

    Re: Past Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Saih View Post
    I had never read Shakespeare until I started high school.
    I never read Shakespeare until I started high school.
    The first example above means the focus is on the time line point which you started high school, previously to that you had never read Shakespeare - it is an important mark.
    On the other hand, in the second one above, it sounds like "I would never read Shakespeare until ... " - that is, you didn't have the habit of reading it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saih View Post
    Jane lost the watch which she had bought the day before.
    Jane lost the watch which she bought the day before.
    These two look similar. The first one seems to be more elaborate, more formal, and more correct. When someone utters the second, one can bet 'she'd bought' was meant. You can also say that the past perfect is used to play the role of a 'past of past', since you are telling something which happened previously to a past action.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saih View Post
    For some time, I had wanted to do some kind of sport.
    For some time, I wanted to do some kind of sport.
    These two depend on the context. If you are reporting to a past event during your life time, use the first one, for example: "Back on my youth days, for some time, I had ..." But if it refers to a "present" situation, use the second, for example: "For some time in the past, I really wanted to do some kind of sport, but then something unexpected happened." Again, if you are telling something that already happened in the past and then you need to refer to the "past of the past", use the past perfect.

    These are just some ideas, it would be nice to hear a native speaker's opinion.

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    #3

    Re: Past Perfect

    Hello!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saih View Post
    What are the differences between these sentences?

    I had never read Shakespeare until I started high school.
    I still don't read Shakespeare.

    I never read Shakespeare until I started high school.
    Now I read Shakespeare.
    I'm sorry, but a wild guess.

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    #4

    Re: Past Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    The first example above means the focus is on the time line point which you started high school, previously to that you had never read Shakespeare - it is an important mark.
    On the other hand, in the second one above, it sounds like "I would never read Shakespeare until ... " - that is, you didn't have the habit of reading it.


    These two look similar. The first one seems to be more elaborate, more formal, and more correct. When someone utters the second, one can bet 'she'd bought' was meant. You can also say that the past perfect is used to play the role of a 'past of past', since you are telling something which happened previously to a past action.


    These two depend on the context. If you are reporting to a past event during your life time, use the first one, for example: "Back on my youth days, for some time, I had ..." But if it refers to a "present" situation, use the second, for example: "For some time in the past, I really wanted to do some kind of sport, but then something unexpected happened." Again, if you are telling something that already happened in the past and then you need to refer to the "past of the past", use the past perfect.

    These are just some ideas, it would be nice to hear a native speaker's opinion.
    Are you suggesting that "Jane lost the watch which she bought the day before." is wrong?

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    #5

    Re: Past Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    Are you suggesting that "Jane lost the watch which she bought the day before." is wrong?
    No, I am not. I just said, in a loose way, that the other version looks "more" correct.
    Of course we don't have much context here, it really depends on it.

    What I really would like to say is that it is difficult for me to decide on these expressions. I would like to read the other member's opinions on them. I just gave them a try.


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    #6

    Re: Past Perfect

    I would have thought that the person never had the habit of reading Shakespeare in either one. In both cases the person (had?) never read it until entering high school.

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    #7

    Re: Past Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Saih View Post
    I had never read Shakespeare until I started high school.
    I never read Shakespeare until I started high school.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saih View Post
    I would have thought that the person never had the habit of reading Shakespeare in either one.
    It really needs more context Saih. The first one states clearly that the person had never read a complete work by Shakespeare before she started high school. Never, not even once. The second one may mean the same, but you may also interpret it as stating that the person didn't use to read Shakespeare (didn't have the habit of).

    Take a look at the present versions:
    I have read Shakespeare (I didn't start high school yet). -> maybe you read one piece of Shakespeare.
    I read Shakespeare (I didn't start high school yet). -> you have the habit of reading him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saih View Post
    In both cases the person (had?) never read it until entering high school.
    Yes, I completely agree with you in this point.

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