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    #1

    tense choice

    Hi there,
    In the following sentences which tense is correct? Would you please provide an answer for me for each one?
    1. Aren't you going to tell me what you were doing/had been doing in my absence?
    2. More than a year had passed/has passed since he first thought of the idea.
    3. He rose from the chair in which he was sitting/had been sitting.
    Thanks.

  1. Ksenia
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    #2

    Re: tense choice

    HELLO!

    I'm not a native speaker, but I'll try to answer your question because I've been learning English for some years.
    So, 1) were doing - because the sentanse begins with "aren't you" - this is PRESENT SIMPLE, that's why the second part can't be used with PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS.
    2) has passed
    3) I think two variants are possible. But I prefer more the first one (was sitting).

    I think so!

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: tense choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Ksyu-k View Post
    .1) were doing - because the sentanse begins with "aren't you" - this is PRESENT SIMPLE, that's why the second part can't be used with PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS.
    2) has passed
    3) I think two variants are possible. But I prefer more the first one (was sitting).
    Not quite, Ksyu-k

    1. Aren't you going to tell me what you were doing/had been doing in my absence?

    If I have just returned, then were doing is appropriate. If I returned some time previously, had been doing is posssible - especially if I had met the person I am talking to after my return and before the present conversation.

    2. More than a year had passed/has passed since he first thought of the idea.

    Both are possible depending on when we are talking about. If he first thought about it in January 2010, then the present perfect is the one. If he first thought about in in January 1998, and we are talking about him in Fenbruary 1999, the it's the past perfect.

    3. He rose from the chair in which he was sitting/had been sitting.

    Both are acceptable.

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    #4

    Re: tense choice

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    N
    2. More than a year had passed/has passed since he first thought of the idea.

    Both are possible depending on when we are talking about. If he first thought about it in January 2010, then the present perfect is the one. If he first thought about in in January 1998, and we are talking about him in Fenbruary 1999, the it's the past perfect.
    Shouldn't it be "since he had first thought" then? Thinking was even before passing, so if passing is in the past perfect, can thinking be in the past simple?

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: tense choice

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Shouldn't it be "since he had first thought" then? Thinking was even before passing, so if passing is in the past perfect, can thinking be in the past simple?
    You are right - in theory.

    In practice, except in more formal speech and writing, we are a little cavalier in our use of the past perfect.

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    #6

    Re: tense choice

    Have you ever thought of us poor learners?

    (I just wanted to defend Ksyu's post. She was right in a sense.)

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