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    #1

    Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    The following is a sentence extracted from a textbook:

    He didn't do anything less Earth-shattering (pun intended) than completely change the way the universe was viewed.

    In my opinion, it is equal to the following:

    He didn't do anything which was less Earth-shattering (pun intended) than that that completely changed the way the universe was viewed was Earth-shattering.

    My questions are:

    1.Is the above opinion right?

    2. Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    Thanks

    Steven Zhu


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    #2

    Talking Re: Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    Hello Zhu,

    First I need to declare that I am not a teacher, as the rules of this forum require.

    Second, coming to the sentence you asked about, I think the reason "change" is used instead of "changed" is because that, while the sentence in its complete form looks like this:
    He didn't do anything less Earth-shattering (pun intended) than completely change the way the universe was viewed.

    it may be possible to simplify it into this:
    He didn't do... than change...

    In other words, I believe the past-tense word "did" has sovereignty over both "do" and "change".

    Hope I have expressed myself clearly enough. There is no guarantee that my understanding of the issue is correct, though.
    Last edited by Kim Charmjam; 14-Sep-2010 at 16:23.

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    #3

    Re: Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    Not a teacher.

    He changed the world.

    He did change the world.

    What he did was change the world.

    With "did" use the present form, not the past.

    I worked yesterday.

    I did work yesterday.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Zhu View Post
    ...He didn't do anything which was less Earth-shattering (pun intended) than that that completely changed the way the universe was viewed was Earth-shattering.
    ...
    I'm sorry - I can't make head or tail of your rewritten version

    It is true that he changed something. But the sentence isn't saying that. It's saying that he did something; there's your past marker. So all that is necessary now is to identify what he did - using the bare infinitive 'change'.

    b

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    #5

    Re: Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I'm sorry - I can't make head or tail of your rewritten version

    It is true that he changed something. But the sentence isn't saying that. It's saying that he did something; there's your past marker. So all that is necessary now is to identify what he did - using the bare infinitive 'change'.

    b
    What I rewrote means:

    1. He had done something.

    2. What he did was as Earth-shattering as the thing that completely changed the way the universe was viewed.


    Is that right?

    Can we substitute "change" for "changed" here? Why?

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    #6

    Re: Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Zhu View Post
    What I rewrote means:

    1. He had done something.

    2. What he did was as Earth-shattering as the thing that had completely changed the way the universe was viewed.


    Is that right?

    Can we substitute "change" for "changed" here? Why?
    Your sentence above is incorrect without "had". You cannot substitute "change" for "changed" because you need the past participle rather than the simple past in that context.

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    #7

    Re: Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Your sentence above is incorrect without "had". You cannot substitute "change" for "changed" because you need the past participle rather than the simple past in that context.

    Thank you, sir.

    Now, we come back to the original form of the sentence:

    He didn't do anything less Earth-shattering (pun intended) than completely change the way the universe was viewed.


    So, Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Zhu View Post
    .... Why is "change" but not "changed" used?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Zhu View Post
    ...

    Can we substitute "change" for "changed" here? Why?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Zhu View Post
    ...Why is "change" but not "changed" used?
    I think we understand the question I have answered it:
    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    ...

    It is true that he changed something. But the sentence isn't saying that. It's saying that he did something; there's your past marker. So all that is necessary now is to identify what he did - using the bare infinitive 'change'.

    b
    To explain my explanation, you need one thing to mark the tense and one thing to identify the action: 'did' (tense marker) and 'change' (identifier of the action - it's not in the present, it's a bare infinitive).

    He did one thing in the past. He did it. He did change something. You can't say he 'did did it', and you can't say 'he did changed it'.

    b

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    #9

    Re: Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    To me it looks like the bare infinitive is required: change.

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    #10

    Re: Why is "change" but not "changed" used?

    So, Why is "change" but not "changed" used?
    In your sentence, replace 'completely change the way the universe was viewed' with 'that'. Your sentence is still ok. This means 'completely change the way the universe was viewed' is a unit. You can forget about the first part of your sentence. Concentrate on the last bit.

    the universe was viewed. subject was viewed.
    The way the universe was viewed. How the universe was viewed. The way = how, a sentencial adverb.

    change (how the universe was viewed.) (in brackets is the object) of change
    completely change (how the universe was viewed) completely, an adverb pointed at change.

    Now, changed can be either a) the simple past of change, or b) the past participle of change.

    than is a conjunction here. It is not a noun, nor is it a pronoun. It cannot be a subject to a verb.

    Case 1 changed is the past tense of change.

    Than completely changed (how the universe was viewed) than can't do that: it is not a noun or pronoun.
    So Case 1 is no go.

    Case 2 changed is the past participle of change.

    Than completely changed (how the universe was viewed) A past participle needs a verb such as 'has' in 'has changed' and 'has' needs a subject. Than cannot be the subject, and you have no 'has'.
    So Case 2 is no go.

    You can't use changed because: than is not a noun or pronoun, and you have no auxiliary verb availabe to complement a past participle.

    明白吗?

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