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    #1

    mistake??

    "I was never the likeliest candidate for this office....We didn't start with much money.." It's from Obama's victory speech in Chicago. Why did he use the past simple "I was never....."?

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    #2

    Re: mistake??

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    "I was never the likeliest candidate for this office....We didn't start with much money.." It's from Obama's victory speech in Chicago. Why did he use the past simple "I was never....."?

    When he delivered the speech, he was referring to his feeling before he was victorious. At that time he felt he “was never the likeliest candidate for this office...,” meaning he did not feel he would be the “likeliest candidate for this office....” In short, he was not confident (humbly or not) he would win for the reason (&/or others) as stated in your quote.

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    #3

    Re: mistake??

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhaheart View Post
    When he delivered the speech, he was referring to his feeling before he was victorious. At that time he felt he “was never the likeliest candidate for this office...,” meaning he did not feel he would be the “likeliest candidate for this office....” In short, he was not confident (humbly or not) he would win for the reason (&/or others) as stated in your quote.
    Could there have been used the past perfect?
    Last edited by ostap77; 13-Dec-2010 at 20:46.

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    #4

    Re: mistake??

    I am not sure what you meant. Please try to use the past perfect tense on the sentence and let us have a look.

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    #5

    Re: mistake??

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhaheart View Post
    I am not sure what you meant. Please try to use the past perfect tense on the sentence and let us have a look.
    "I had never been the likeliest candidate for this office ..."
    I can't see the need for this. If there was another event in the past, it's possible: "Before I beat HIlary, I had never been the likeliest candidate for this office ..." But even here, it's not necessary. My rule for the past perfect is that, if it adds nothing, don't use it.

    And the present perfect: "I have never been the likeliest candidate for this office ..."
    He could have said this before he won, because this state of not being the most likely candidate was ongoing; but not after.

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    #6

    Re: mistake??

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "I had never been the likeliest candidate for this office ..."
    I can't see the need for this. If there was another event in the past, it's possible: "Before I beat HIlary, I had never been the likeliest candidate for this office ..." But even here, it's not necessary. My rule for the past perfect is that, if it adds nothing, don't use it.

    And the present perfect: "I have never been the likeliest candidate for this office ..."
    He could have said this before he won, because this state of not being the most likely candidate was ongoing; but not after.
    Would it the same if he said "I've never been the likeliest ......"?

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    #7

    Re: mistake??

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    Would it the same if he said "I've never been the likeliest ......"?
    No.

    If we use a different tense/aspect form, there is always a difference in meaning, even if that difference is slight in practical terms.

    The difference would be what it almost always is in such cases. The past tense locates his feeling in the past, as Buddheart pointed out. Raymott has pointed out why the present perfect is inappropriate.

    You ask some interesting questions sometimes Ostap. At other times (such as this) you ask questions which have been answered several times before - sometimes in the same thread. Try reading the answers and thinking about them before posting a repeat of your question.

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