# Thread: Verb tense-In 1976, 60% of families were...,but by 1996, this number had fallen...

1. ## Verb tense-In 1976, 60% of families were...,but by 1996, this number had fallen...

In 1976, 60% of families “were” couples with children, but by 1996, this number “had fallen” to 51%.
Is this sentence correct? The past perfect tense is used to show the action which happened before another event, but in this sentence, the earlier event “In 1976, 60% of families were couples with children” takes the simple past tense, and the last event takes the past perfect tense.
Why?
I think it should be on the opposite－In 1976, 60% of families “had been” couples with children, but by 1996, this number “fell” to 51%.

2. ## Re: Verb tense-In 1976, 60% of families were...,but by 1996, this number had fallen..

The original is fine as it is.

If the fall had taken place in 1996 you could say, '…but in 1996, this number fell to 51%'. But the sentence is actually saying that there was a fall over time, and by 1996 it had reached 51%.

3. ## Re: Verb tense-In 1976, 60% of families were...,but by 1996, this number had fallen..

"In 1976, 60% of families “were” couples with children": "In" here denotes specific time in the past, so the use of the Past Simple is correct.

"...by 1996, this number “had fallen” to 51%": "by" here means that the process started and finished before (the end of) 1996. The use of the Past Perfect is also correct (something happened before a specific moment in the past).

4. ## Re: Verb tense-In 1976, 60% of families were...,but by 1996, this number had fallen..

The term "past perfect" should not be capitalized. Also, the phrase "in 1976" denotes a specific time period, not "in" by itself.

5. ## Re: Verb tense-In 1976, 60% of families were...,but by 1996, this number had fallen..

Point taken, Tarheel! Strange, I've always seen it capitalized....

6. ## Re: Verb tense-In 1976, 60% of families were...,but by 1996, this number had fallen..

It might be capitalised if it were the title of a chapter in a grammar book or written at the top of a list of verbs but there's no need to capitalise it in other situations.

For example:

Chapter One - Past Perfect

This chapter deals with the past perfect tense.

#### Posting Permissions

• You may not post new threads
• You may not post replies
• You may not post attachments
• You may not edit your posts
•