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  1. #1
    sebayanpendam is offline Member
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    the usage of perfect tense

    Why, in a novel, the past tense is used first and then followed by the past perfect tense? Please explain.

    e.g.

    Keshava was dark and chubby; Vittal was tall and lean and fair, and five years older. Their mother had died years ago, and their father had abandoned them; an uncle had raised them and they had grown up among their cousins. Then their uncle had died, and their aunt called Keshava and told them to go with Vittal, who was being dispatched to the big city to work for a relative who ran a grocery. And that was, really how they had come to realize that there was a bond between them deeper than that between cousins.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: the usage of perfect tense

    Quote Originally Posted by sebayanpendam View Post
    Why, in a novel, the past tense is used first and then followed by the past perfect tense? Please explain.

    e.g.

    Keshava was dark and chubby; Vittal was tall and lean and fair, and five years older. Their mother had died years ago, and their father had abandoned them; an uncle had raised them and they had grown up among their cousins. Then their uncle had died, and their aunt called Keshava and told them to go with Vittal, who was being dispatched to the big city to work for a relative who ran a grocery. And that was, really how they had come to realize that there was a bond between them deeper than that between cousins.

    Thanks.
    This is the most common use of the past perfect.
    The first time in the past is set up with the first sentence in the simple past. It tells us of the main characters.
    Everything that is narrated after that, until the second half of the last sentence, happened before the information given in the opening sentence. Not every instance of the past perfect is absolutely necessary. But imagine this:
    "Keshava was dark and chubby; Vittal was tall and lean and fair, and five years older. Their mother died, and their father abandoned them ... "
    Without the past perfect tense, all of this might be read to be occurring after the ages given in the introduction.

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