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    #1

    Past perfect meaining..

    Hi,

    I tool this sentence from a GRE practice test, and I could not quite work out what it means. There is a past perfect tense, but its structure seems different.

    Although never one to eschew life’s pleasures, only recently had Paul devoted himself entirely to hedonistic pursuits.

    Thank you in advance..

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Past perfect meaining..

    The sentence is grammatical.
    Rewrite:
    Although Paul is not a person to shun the pleasures of life, he had entirely devoted himself to hedonistic pursuits recently.
    Paraphrase:
    Although Paul is not known as a person who dislikes life's pleasures, he had totally devoted himself to hedonistic pleasures recently.

    The use of the past perfect is possible, e.g., if Paul is dead now.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Past perfect meaining..

    Don't get the idea though, oksuz_, that he has to be dead. This past perfect just has to precede an action (which might indeed be "He walked under a bus", though it's more likely to involve a "hedonistic pursuit".

    It's certainly grammatical though. The inversion in the main clause ("Only recently had Paul...") is rather literary/mannered, I think. People use it to emphasize the force of an adverb. For example, one fairly common usage (not having a past perfect - it's the sort of thing that people introducing important guest speakers tend to use) is something like "It's not often that we get the chance to hear...."

    ()

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 26-Nov-2015 at 17:23.
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  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Past perfect meaining..

    PS - That wasn‘t a very good example I gave - no inversion and adverb in a "normal" position. What I should have said was this (which I think I had in mind at the time: "Seldom do we get the chance to ..."

    b
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