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    #1

    perfect tenses within one sentence

    Hello everybody,
    I was puzzled with the number of perfect tenses employed within one sentence, i.e. can three perfect tenses come running in different clauses?
    E.g. When I came home, the kitchen was a wreck. My little brother had broken my cup, and he had even drunk the juice which Dad had squeezed for me in the morning.
    Is the past perfect used correctly? Or should I drop it in the first two cases and leave only in the last one, which points to the action that is the earliest in time? I considered the kitchen being a wreck the result of the two actions carried out by the brother, but will three perfect tenses do? Can we drop the perfect tense in the clause with Dad as it simply mentions some additional fact, but doesn't lay emphasis on the time-priority, only describing the juice? Gosh, my head's spinning.
    Thank you for your help in advance!

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: perfect tenses within one sentence

    Came/was = simple past
    Had broken/had drunk/had squeezed = past perfect

    All of those tenses are used correctly.

    "I came home" and "the kitchen was a wreck" are in the same tense because they happened at the same time.
    The cup had been broken, the juice had been squeezed and had been drunk before I came home. Therefore, the past perfect is appropriate for all three.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: perfect tenses within one sentence

    Thank you so much, dear emsr2d2. The last question here: Can I use simple past with 'squeezed' to shift emphasis from it as it serves for describing the juice and not as a priority/result marker?
    Thanks again and I'm awfully sorry for being a nuisance. The problem is that a sentence with three past perfect looks a bit weird to me.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: perfect tenses within one sentence

    In my opinion, no. The squeezing of the juice was the first thing that happened in that scenario so it precedes everything else. Here's how the day went:

    Dad squeezed the juice.
    Later, the brother drank the juice and broke a cup.
    In the process of doing those things, he wrecked the kitchen.
    Finally, I came home and found the chaos!

    Of all the things in that list, Dad squeezing the juice is the one which should most clearly be in the past perfect.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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