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    #1

    choice of tense with "ever"

    Dear teachers,

    Would you please tell me which tenses should I use in the following passage ? Would you please give me the reason for your choice?

    "Just occasionally, someone would feel curious enough to ask him what he was doing, and every time his answer would be the same: “I'm still writing the book. It should have been finished last year, but I can't get it right”. And that was all we (1) ever learned / had ever learned about (/ from ?) him.
    Because no one (2) ever visited / had ever visited his house, either, I remember once running up to the house to see whether I could see what he (3) was doing / did."

    Thank you for your help.
    Hela
    Last edited by hela; 06-Jun-2013 at 04:33.

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    #2

    Re: choice of tense with "ever"

    I would be very grateful if someone could answer my post.

    Best regards

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    #3

    Re: choice of tense with "ever"

    This looks like homework. We don't help with that.

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    #4

    Re: choice of tense with "ever"

    It's not homework, I'ts a text taken from "First Certificate, Longman" and I'm just trying to understand the choice of tenses of the writer. I have also noticed that native speakers use different tenses for the same occurrence, and would like to know which is the more accurate and why. As an example, the writer chose "did" for the last instance and I do not agree. What about you?
    Last edited by hela; 07-Jun-2013 at 05:48.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: choice of tense with "ever"

    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you please tell me which tenses should I use in the following passage ? Would you please give me the reason for your choice?

    "Just occasionally, someone would feel curious enough to ask him what he was doing, and every time his answer would be the same: “I'm still writing the book. It should have been finished last year, but I can't get it right”. And that was all we (1) ever learned / had ever learned about (/ from ?) him. {You could have learned more about him from another source.}
    Because no one (2) ever visited / had ever visited his house, either, I remember once running up to the house to see whether I could see what he (3) was doing / did."{You could justify "did" if the writer meant "what he did all day" but since it uses "once" it seems more likely to mean what he was doing at that moment.}
    Thank you for your help.
    Hela
    The bold words are the ones I'd use.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: choice of tense with "ever"

    Thanks, Barb

    You Know why I'm so confused, it's because native speakers do not use the same tenses for a similar text. I'd like, therefore, to know the reason why one should choose one tense instead of another. This is the original version:

    "And that was all we ever learned about him.
    Because no one had ever visited his house, either, I remember once running up to the house to see whether I could see what he did. I
    crept up to the window trembling and looked in, expecting to see our writer typing furiously at his desk. Instead, he was sitting in an armchair reading a paper."

    Best regards

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: choice of tense with "ever"

    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post
    Thanks, Barb

    You Know why I'm so confused, it's because native speakers do not use the same tenses for a similar text. I'd like, therefore, to know the reason why one should choose one tense instead of another.
    It depends what we have in mind. Barb has already explained a couple of differences. Here's another:


    Because no one had ever visited before that time / ever visted at any time his house ...

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