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  1. #1

    it had seemed

    Hello

    I have questions concerning the following lines.
    A week in the hospital, she has told us. A hysterectomy, she has said. It had seemed unremarkable to me in a woman of forty-six long finished with childbearing, although every day I grow older I realize there is never anything unremarkable about losing any part of what makes you female - a breast, a womb, a child, a man.
    Question #1:

    I don't understand how the author uses the expression "it had seemed." What had seemed unremarkable to her in a woman of forty-six long finished with childbearing?
    Why the past perfect "had seemed" instead of "seemed?"

    I would use "It had seemed" this way:
    It had seemed surprising to me that a woman of forty-six, long finished with childbearing, decided to buy baby clothes before I learned that she was going to adopt a baby.
    What had seemed surprising to me that a woman of forty-six, long finished with childbearing? Answer: decided to buy baby clothes.
    Why the past perfect "had seemed"? Answer: because the action happened before the simple past "learned."

    Question #2:

    Do we need a comma between "a woman of forty-six long" and "long finished with childbearing?" In this case, even if "long finished with childbearing" is a restrictive phrase, can I use a comma?

    Thank very much,

    smilingTeapot

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #2

    Re: it had seemed

    There's a then / now aspect to it:

    #1 Then, at that time, it had seemed unremarkable to me, but, now, as time goes on and I grow older I realize there is never anything unremarkable about it.

    'who has' has been omitted. It heads a restrictive or defining clause:

    #2 a woman of forty-six (who has/had) long finished with childbearing

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