Results 1 to 3 of 3
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Apr 2013
    • Posts: 15
    #1

    Past Perfect

    I don't understand why the past perfect tense had to be used in the highlighted part below.

    It was Sally’s birthday, and the whole family was having a party. When Sally started opening her presents, her little brother, Ted, asked their mom if he could go to the bathroom. She said “Yes,” but he wanted her to go with him. Their father told him that he didn’t need anyone to take him to the bathroom anymore. He could go by himself now. But Ted didn’t go to the bathroom. He stayed in the room where Sally was opening her presents. After a few minutes, he asked his dad to get him a glass for water. He told him to wait until Sally had finished opening her presents or go to the bathroom by himself and use the glass he could reach. He still didn’t go.

    As far as I know, past perfect is used to indicate "earlier past". But here when the dad talked to the son, Sally hadn't finished opening her presents yet. For example,

    When Eisenhower announced his reelection bid in February 1956, he hedged on the choice of his running mate, stating that it was improper to address that question until he had been renominated.


    Is this grammatically correct? Can't I use a different expression, such as "until he would have been renominated" or "until he was renominated"? Thank you for your help in advance.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #2

    Re: Past Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by bottomup44 View Post
    He told him to wait until Sally had finished opening her presents or go to the bathroom by himself and use the glass he could reach. He still didn’t go.

    As far as I know, past perfect is used to indicate "earlier past". But here when the dad talked to the son, Sally hadn't finished opening her presents yet.
    The father's actual words were "Wait until Sally has finished opening her presents". When we report speech, we normally backshift present (perfect) tenses to past (perfect tenses.
    For example,

    When Eisenhower announced his reelection bid in February 1956, he hedged on the choice of his running mate, stating that it was improper to address that question until he had been renominated.


    Is this grammatically correct? Can't I use a different expression, such as "until he would have been renominated"?
    No.

    Eisenhower's words were, "It is improper for me to address that question until I have been renominated". In both these direct words and Sally's fathers direct words, the so-called future perfect (will have opened, will have been nominated) are incorrect. In temporal clauses (introduced by when, before, after, until, etc) we use a present tense. So, as we cannot say 'will have opened/been nominated', we cannot report this as 'would have opened/been nominated'.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Apr 2013
    • Posts: 15
    #3

    Re: Past Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    No.

    Eisenhower's words were, "It is improper for me to address that question until I have been renominated". In both these direct words and Sally's fathers direct words, the so-called future perfect (will have opened, will have been nominated) are incorrect. In temporal clauses (introduced by when, before, after, until, etc) we use a present tense. So, as we cannot say 'will have opened/been nominated', we cannot report this as 'would have opened/been nominated'.
    Thank you very much, 5jj. That clarifies my confusion perfectly. :)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Mar-2013, 15:40
  2. On the Past Perfect Continuous and Past Perfect Simple
    By nouamaneer in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 15-Oct-2012, 12:08
  3. past perfect or a specific time past perfect?
    By keannu in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 24-Jan-2011, 19:16
  4. past perfect,past tense or present perfect?
    By njanja in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 13-Apr-2007, 12:13
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Apr-2006, 17:18

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
  •