Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 994
    #1

    progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    Dear teachers,

    Tense 'markers' such as for, since, already, just etc normally help us choose a tense. If we don't have them, there can be some ambiguity.

    For example,

    When I came, they (drink) champagne.

    I've come up with three alternatives.

    When I came, they were drinking champagne ( they were in the process of drinking)

    When I came, they had been drinking champagne (I saw half-empty bottles, the people were slightly drunk)

    When I came, they had drunk the champagne (the bottles were empty, a guy sleeping under the table)

    Are the 2nd and 3rd alternatives possible?

    Thank you in advance.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #2

    Re: progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Tense 'markers' such as for, since, already, just etc normally help us choose a tense. If we don't have them, there can be some ambiguity.

    For example,

    When I came, they (drink) champagne.

    I've come up with three alternatives.

    When I came, they were drinking champagne ( they were in the process of drinking)

    When I came, they had been drinking champagne (I saw half-empty bottles, the people were slightly drunk)

    When I came, they had drunk the champagne (the bottles were empty, a guy sleeping under the table)

    Are the 2nd and 3rd alternatives possible?

    Thank you in advance.
    "Arrived" is much better than "came" in this situation.
    2. is possible. I'd prefer, "When I arrived, I noticed they'd been drinking champagne." The fact is that they had been drinking champagne before your arrival, not when you arrived. "Before I arrived, they had been drinking ..." is also good.
    3. The same argument goes for this sentence. "They had drunk all the champagne before I arrived." or "By the time I arrived, they had drunk ..."

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 994
    #3

    Re: progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    Thank you!
    "Before' and 'by the time' denitely make things simpler, but I'm trying to understand that nuance with 'when'.

    When the phone rang, I had gone to bed.
    When I came home, water had been leaking through the roof.

    I hardly see any difference between these sentences and the champagne ones

  2. milan2003_07's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 519
    #4

    Re: progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    When the phone rang, I had gone to bed.
    When I came home, water had been leaking through the roof.
    Frankly speaking I would use Past Simple in sentence #1 because this Tense seems more natural to me in such context:

    When the phone rang, I was doing .... (something).

    If you want to use Past Perfect it would be better to insert some word like "already":

    When the phone rang, I had already gone to bed.

    This is what I think about all this situation. I don't consider the original sentence to be wrong, but in my opinion some specific words are needed ti use Past Perfect.

    Sentence #2 allows both Past Perfect Continuous and Past Simple.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 994
    #5

    Re: progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    Well, I took them from an Eglish grammar.

    They also give the following examples:

    When I last went to Moscow, they had been renovating St Basil's Cathedral.

    When I met Simon and Pat, they had been riding.


    And there're no time adverbs. It's mind-boggling.

  3. milan2003_07's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 519
    #6

    Re: progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Well, I took them from an Eglish grammar.

    They also give the following examples:

    When I last went to Moscow, they had been renovating St Basil's Cathedral.

    When I met Simon and Pat, they had been riding.


    And there're no time adverbs. It's mind-boggling.
    Your sentences do make sense even without adverbs, but it's still strange to me to see them written this way. If I were to choose a proper Tense to use, I would have chosen Past Continuous in both examples. Past Continuous is the simplest Past Tense emphasizing duration and hence it's the first Tense that comes to my mind when it's necessary to say that something lasts for a long time. Past perfect Continuous would be indisputable if there were words like "for" (in sentence #1, e.g., "for two months" and sentence #2, e.g. "for 3 hours" or "the whole morning").

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 994
    #7

    Re: progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    I'm afraid I cannot agree with you.
    The Past Progressive implies certain duration, but it does not emphasize it. It just says that something was in progress.
    You can use 'for' with it to put some emphasis on duration.
    I was working on my computer for four hours yesterday.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #8

    Re: progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    Verona: Tense 'markers' such as for, since, already, just etc normally help us choose a tense. If we don't have them, there can be some ambiguity

    When I came, they were drinking champagne ( they were in the process of drinking)
    When I came, they had been drinking champagne (I saw half-empty bottles, the people were slightly drunk)
    When I came, they had drunk the champagne (the bottles were empty, a guy sleeping under the table)

    One of the problems here is that some course books and grammars give the impression that there is always a ‘right’ answer’, and always only one correct tense. Provided we recognise that, the problem largely disappears. We don’t have to wonder whether tense A is more or less appropriate than tense B – they are probably both appropriate for the situation as their speakers see it.

    Raymott (Post #2) )"Arrived" is much better than "came" in this situation. I agree.
    2. is possible. I'd prefer, "When I arrived, I noticed they'd been drinking champagne." The fact is that they had been drinking champagne before your arrival, not when you arrived. "Before I arrived, they had been drinking ..." is also good. I don’t agree. That is not to say that Raymott is wrong, but simply that he would use a different construction than I

    3. The same argument goes for this sentence. "They had drunk all the champagne before I arrived." or "By the time I arrived, they had drunk ...". Once again, I don’t agree.

    Verona (Post #3): When the phone rang, I had gone to bed.
    When I came home, water had been leaking through the roof.

    I hardly see any difference between these sentences and the champagne ones [IMG]file:///C:/Users/jed/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG] Neither do I.


    Milan (Post #4) Frankly speaking I would use Past Simple in sentence #1 [When the phone rang, I had gone to bed.] because this Tense seems more natural to me in such context:
    When the phone rang, I was doing .... (something).

    But that is a different situation. In Verona’s example, the going to bed preceded the ringing of the phone.

    If you want to use Past Perfect it would be better to insert some word like "already":
    When the phone rang, I had already gone to bed. You may feel ‘already’ is necessary, I don’t. Use it if you wish, but don’t insist on it.

    Sentence #2 [When I came home, water had been leaking through the roof.]allows both Past Perfect Continuous and Past Simple. It does indeed, but there is a slight difference in meaning.

    Verona (Post #5) When I last went to Moscow, they had been renovating St Basil's Cathedral.
    When I met Simon and Pat, they had been riding.


    And there're no time adverbs. It's mind-boggling.
    There is no need for time adverbs (though ‘last’ looks suspiciously like one to me). The situations in both sentences are clearly located in the past.

    Milan 6. Your sentences do make sense even without adverbs, but it's still strange to me to see them written this way.
    Not strange to me.

    If I were to choose a proper Tense to use, I would have chosen Past Continuous in both examples.
    The past Continuous is perfectly acceptable, but it suggests a different view of the situation.

  5. milan2003_07's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 519
    #9

    Re: progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    I'm afraid I cannot agree with you.
    The Past Progressive implies certain duration, but it does not emphasize it. It just says that something was in progress.
    You can use 'for' with it to put some emphasis on duration.
    I was working on my computer for four hours yesterday.
    Much depends on what how imagine "emphasizing". Past Progressive does emphasize duration, but the extent of emphasis perceived differently by different people.

    I think "I was working on my computer for four hours yesterday" isn't the best choice. Past Progressive is more often used when one action was interrupted by another or when two long actions were occurring simultaneously:

    I was talking on the phone when Fred came
    I was repairing a washing machine while my mother was cooking in the kitchen

    In your sentence with "computer" there is duration expressed by "four hours". But the sentence will be fine with Past Simple:

    "I worked on my computer for four hours yesterday"

  6. milan2003_07's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 519
    #10

    Re: progressive, perfect and perfect progressive without time words

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post

    Sentence #2 [When I came home, water had been leaking through the roof.]allows both Past Perfect Continuous and Past Simple. It does indeed, but there is a slight difference in meaning.

    Please explain how you perceive this difference


    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post

    If I were to choose a proper Tense to use, I would have chosen Past Continuous in both examples.
    The past Continuous is perfectly acceptable, but it suggests a different view of the situation.
    Which view are you talking about here?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 16-Nov-2010, 14:13
  2. [Grammar] present perfect and perfect progressive
    By jon2010 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-Aug-2009, 17:02
  3. progressive vs perfect progressive
    By lrk2006 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 05-Apr-2008, 23:03
  4. present perfect progressive once more
    By Hanka in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-Sep-2006, 23:33
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-Apr-2005, 03:34

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •