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    #1

    present perfect or past perfect

    Dear teachers,

    A key to an exercise on tenses gives for sentence #13 a present perfect or a past perfect tense. It is something I do not agree with because of the reporting verb "He said" at the beginning of the sentence. I think that only the past perfect can be used, even if the situation can still be true in the present time. Am I wrong?


    When Adams told the station guard about this, the poor man turned pale. He said that no steam train 13)... has/had passed.....(pass) through that station for years, and that the last one 14)........ had crashed...........(crash), killing everyone on board.


    Thank you for your help.
    Hela

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: present perfect or past perfect

    If the wider context makes it clear that it is still possible, at the time of reporting, to say 'No train has passed through this station for years', then backshifting is possible, but not essential in (13). In (14), the present perfect is not possible, though a non-backshifted past simple is.

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    #3

    Re: present perfect or past perfect

    Hello, Piscean

    So you think that writing "He said that no steam train 13)has passed through that station for years, and that the last one 14) crashed, killing everyone on board" is possible?

    And what about "
    He said that no steam train 13) has passed through that station for years, and that the last one 14) had crashed, killing everyone on board"?


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    #4

    Re: present perfect or past perfect

    Yes to your first question; no to the second.

    We backshift either all of the verbs in the situation reported or none of them.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 27-Mar-2016 at 18:30.

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    #5

    Re: present perfect or past perfect

    Piscean,

    Sorry to insist but even if the preceding sentences are in the past, it is still possible to use the present perfect + simple past for #13 and 14? or not?

    Once, while Kevin was standing in a station in Cheshire he saw something very unusual. He had been waiting for over an hour for a train to go by when suddenly he saw a very old steam train coming down the track. It didn’t stop at the station and, as it was passing, he noticed that all the passengers were wearing old-fashioned clothes. When he told the station guard about this, the poor man turned pale. He said that no steam train 13) has passed through that station for years, and that the last one 14) crashed, killing everyone on board.

    Thanks a million
    Last edited by hela; 28-Mar-2016 at 14:37.

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    #6

    Re: present perfect or past perfect

    I find "has passed" to be awkward and unnatural in all your examples. I would use "had passed; had crashed". But "crashed" is not wrong. You can always back shift.

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