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    #1

    Which sentence is correct?

    Hi

    Which sentence is correct?

    1) The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the man who had developed a rash.
    2) The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the man who developed a rash.

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by blissful View Post
    Hi

    Which sentence is correct?

    1) The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the man who had developed a rash.
    2) The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the man who developed a rash.

    Thank you.
    *****NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) I am 99% confident that No. 1 is correct:

    The doctor prescribed antibiotics [on Tuesday] for the man who had developed a rash

    [on Monday].

    (2) Your second sentence seems to give the meaning:

    The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the man who [then] developed a rash.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    The first is clearer.

    As many native speakers are not so precise about using the past perfect as some grammar books would have us believe, the second would be quite natural for many people.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    The first is clearer.

    As many native speakers are not so precise about using the past perfect as some grammar books would have us believe, the second would be quite natural for many people.
    ... and deficient to others. I think that if blissful understands this difference intuitively, s/he should use 1. No one has yet actually preferred 2.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    ... and deficient to others. I think that if blissful understands this difference intuitively, s/he should use 1. No one has yet actually preferred 2.
    I agree. I was merely attempting to forestall a post from someone saying:

    "I have seen the sentence below in print. So, can't we say it? If not, why not?

    2) The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the man who developed a rash.
    "

    TheParser explained why the first sentence was correct. I explained why you might hear/see the second from some native speakers.
    Last edited by 5jj; 29-Jan-2012 at 14:35. Reason: 'some' added

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    #6

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Both. In the first sentence the prescription was a medicine for rash , but in the second one the antibiotics caused the rash.

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    #7

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nersi View Post
    Both. In the first sentence the prescription was a medicine for rash , but in the second one the antibiotics caused the rash.
    Hmm, not exactly. Your scenario would be better described by:
    "The doctor had prescribed antibiotics for the man who developed a rash." This suggests the relationship that you want.
    The problem with 2 is that you have two events in the simple past, and there no way to tell the time relation between them. That is is the reason that 1. is preferable.
    1. and the above do establish a timeline, but not necessarily causation. 1. is consistent with the doctor having given him antibiotics for the rash, and you might justifiably read it that way, but neither 1, nor the above actually directly asserts a causal connection.

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "The doctor had prescribed antibiotics for the man who developed a rash."
    I read that to mean the doctor prescribed antibiotics for something else and the person went on to develop a rash as a result. The prescription of antibiotics precedes the development of the rash with those tenses, doesn't it?

    I think the problem overall is with the use of "develop".

    "The doctor prescribed/had prescribed antiobiotics for the man who had a rash" wouldn't be quite as ambiguous, in my view.

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    #9

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I read that to mean the doctor prescribed antibiotics for something else and the person went on to develop a rash as a result. The prescription of antibiotics precedes the development of the rash with those tenses, doesn't it?
    Exactly. That's my point. You can establish a time relationship if one clause is in the past perfect tense. That's (partly) why 2. in the original question is not as good.
    I think the problem overall is with the use of "develop".
    I don't.
    "The doctor prescribed/had prescribed antiobiotics for the man who had a rash" wouldn't be quite as ambiguous, in my view.
    You'll note that I was specifically illustrating why Nersi's post was wrong. Sentence 2 does not mean what he claimed, and I gave him one that was more consistent with what he wanted.

    2. "The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the man who developed a rash." establishes no time relationship. Either event could have occurred first.
    Using the past perfect tense in either first or the second clause establishes which event happened first.
    The usefulness of these sentences depends on the context.
    If one were trying to determine the cause of the rash, you want to know whether the antibiotics were prescribed before the development of the rash. Sentence 2. doesn't help you.
    One the other hand, if you wanted to determine what treatment the doctor gave for the rash, Sentence 2 still doesn't help you.

    The past perfect is better because it's more specific about timing. It contains more information. But the sentences out of context could be said to mean anything. It's only when they're used in context that they become more meaningful.

    Doctor1: I wonder what caused his rash.
    Doctor2: Well, he had been prescribed antibiotics.
    Doctor1: Ah, that could be it.

    Doctor1: I wonder what caused his rash.
    Doctor2: Well, he was prescribed antibiotics.
    Doctor1: What, before he developed the rash? (Doctor1 needs to establish a timeframe which doesn't occur in the simple past).
    Doctor2: Yes
    Doctor 1: Ah, that could be it.
    Last edited by Raymott; 29-Jan-2012 at 15:45.

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    #10

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    OK, I'm now lost as to what the original meaning was meant to be.

    Was he prescribed antibiotics for an unrelated condition and then went on to develop a rash?
    Did he develop a rash, went to his doctor, and his doctor prescribed antibiotics to get rid of the rash?

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