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    #1

    the verb tense

    In the sentence below, which is correct, A or B? Thank you.

    My boyfriend asked me whether I (A. ever had B. had ever had) a crush on one of my teachers in high school.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the verb tense

    Quote Originally Posted by maoyueh View Post
    In the sentence below, which is correct, A or B? Thank you.

    My boyfriend asked me whether I (A. ever had B. had ever had) a crush on one of my teachers in high school.
    Which one do you think is correct and why?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: the verb tense

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Which one do you think is correct and why?
    Thanks for asking. Because the main verb 'asked' is the past tense, according to strict grammar, B is the correct choice, However, since the simple past tense 'had' can also refer to something that happened in the past, I think A is also acceptable. I asked to make sure if I am right. Thank you.

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: the verb tense

    They are both correct, both heard millions of times a day in common speech. In my opinion A is becoming more common than B (much more common where I live) as people continue disusing the pluperfect, or past perfect tense.

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    #5

    Re: the verb tense

    Yes, I can tell from my own experience that that is the case. That said, I'd still encourage students to go with the traditional grammar rules and use a pluperfect in situations like this.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: the verb tense

    Quote Originally Posted by maoyueh View Post
    Thanks for asking. Because the main verb 'asked' is the past tense, according to strict grammar, B is the correct choice, However, since the simple past tense 'had' can also refer to something that happened in the past, I think A is also acceptable. I asked to make sure if I am right. Thank you.
    The version with the past perfect is correct and is more formal. However, from the context, it is obvious that any crushes would have occurred before the time the question was asked. The main purpose of the past perfect is to establish the time sequence of two past events. When other timing clues or context establishes the time sequence, the simple past is acceptable.

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    #7

    Re: the verb tense

    That is true, but as I said earlier, being a student often requires applying the rules that are taught at school. It so happens that I've been asked a similar question on several occasions and the only answer I would have was for them to stick to the rules prescribed in their textbooks.

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    #8

    Re: the verb tense

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    That is true, but as I said earlier, being a student often requires applying the rules that are taught at school. It so happens that I've been asked a similar question on several occasions and the only answer I would have was for them to stick to the rules prescribed in their textbooks.
    I agree. That is why we try to present both sides. The formal rules apply to examinations but then the student wonders why people don't always use those forms.

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    #9

    Re: the verb tense

    I once stumbled upon a book by Oxford in which it read that 'a past simple is sometimes used in place of a past perfect' when referring to past situations, which isn't any help. I'm all for it, just like you are, to tell others that you use a past perfect if the context needs it, for the sake of clarity, if you like.

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    #10

    Re: the verb tense

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    I once stumbled upon a book by Oxford in which it read that 'a past simple is sometimes used in place of a past perfect' when referring to past situations, which isn't any help. I'm all for it, just like you are, to tell others that you use a past perfect if the context needs it, for the sake of clarity, if you like.
    I agree that the Oxford sentence is not very helpful. Sometimes there is no answer to the question "why?" But when there is one, the answer can be very helpful.

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