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  1. Maudlin
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    #1

    Present perfect or past perfect ?

    Hi, folks.

    I have a question concerning the right use of tenses. Which one of the following is true:

    He hasn't had his car as late as 1984.

    OR

    He hadn't had his car as late as 1984.

    Let me help you with what the speaker means and wants to say. He/she doesn't care whether the person still owns that car. What is important in that case is the fact that "he" was without a car until 1984.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Maudlin; 20-Aug-2013 at 13:56.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Present perfect or past perfect ?

    Welcome to the forum, Maudlin.

    Neither perfect tense works in that sentence. You just need: He didn't have a car as late as 1984.

  3. Maudlin
    Guest
    #3

    Re: Present perfect or past perfect ?

    Thanks for the answer.

    But could you explain why neither perfect tense works ? IMO it should be the Past Perfect - cause we mean a period in the past, before another point
    in the past. And we do not care about a specific time in the past, but about a longer period of time.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Present perfect or past perfect ?

    Just for once, I don't agree with 5jj. I agree that neither of the original sentences are natural but I don't think that "He didn't have a car as late as 1984" necessarily means that he was car-free right up until 1984. It could mean that he did have a car until 1983/1982/1981/1979/1954 (you get the picture) but I don't think it suggests that he was entirely without a car up to and including 1984 (which is what I took the OP's explanation to mean).

    He was car-free as late as 1984.
    He was without a car as late as 1984.
    He did not own a car until 1985.

    I would like to point out that I am having trouble with the logic of the sentence. What is so special about 1984? Why should we consider 1984 to be a "late" year to be a non-car-owner?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. Maudlin
    Guest
    #5

    Cool Re: Present perfect or past perfect ?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post

    I would like to point out that I am having trouble with the logic of the sentence. What is so special about 1984? Why should we consider 1984 to be a "late" year to be a non-car-owner?
    Because back then in Eastern Europe it was a problem to own a car and you had to wait at least 10 years to get one. 1984 is the exact year when my father bought his first car after a long wait of 10+ years.

    I have to confess I am even more confused about the grammar now. In a different american forum, the yankees (though not professional teachers) said "He hasn't had" is the right one. English language is fun to learn ! :)
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 20-Aug-2013 at 17:49.

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Present perfect or past perfect ?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Just for once, I don't agree with 5jj. I agree that neither of the original sentences are natural but I don't think that "He didn't have a car as late as 1984" necessarily means that he was car-free right up until 1984.
    I am surprised that ems was not struck by a thunderbolt when she dared to disagree with me. Perhaps, on this unique occasion, she is right. I still think that my sentence is reasonably satisfactory, but must admit that it is not perfect. It is difficult to be perfect if we try to rely on tense alone. The three sentences ems suggested are much clearer than my one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maudlin View Post
    In a different, aAmerican, forum, the yankees (though not professional teachers) said "He hasn't had" is the right one.
    'Hasn't had' is not correct. The present perfect always has something to do with the present time.

    I have put commas round 'American' in your quoted post. Without them, there is suggestion that UsingEnglish is an American forum. It isn't.

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