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    #1

    How can I correct the verb tenses to make my sentences clearer?

    A few days ago, I made up a few sentences and showed them to my native English speaking neighbor. He said that the verb forms made them difficult to understand, but he didn't explain what went wrong. I would like to write them down below.

    (ex) The local schools honor students who achieve an overall grade point average of 4.5 or higher in a year. Over the last six years, John had been doing (or was doing) very well, but he marginally missed the mark. However, in the first half of the current year, he did even better and achieved the mark very quickly. From that point on, he has continued to improve his grades as the year progresses.

    Could someone please help me identify the problem with the verb forms used in my sentences? Thank you very much for your help.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How can I correct the verb tenses to make my sentences clearer?

    The only thing that strikes me is that "Over the past six years" is usually taken to mean "up to the present", so "had been doing" isn't appropriate. Normally, I would say that you need "Over the past six years, John has been doing very well". However, you then go on to talk about "the current year" so clearly those six years don't include this one.
    I would suggest, therefore, that you name the years. "Between 2010 and 2015, John did very well but each year he marginally missed the mark. However, in the first half of 2016, he has been doing even better...
    At the end, I would delete either "From that point on" or "as the year progresses". They give the same idea so using both is redundant.

    I really don't see why your neighbour found it hard to understand.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: How can I correct the verb tenses to make my sentences clearer?

    Note that 'The local schools honor students who achieve an overall grade point average of 4.5 or higher in a year' is not a sentence, as it lacks a main verb.

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    #4

    Re: How can I correct the verb tenses to make my sentences clearer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Note that 'The local schools honor students who achieve an overall grade point average of 4.5 or higher in a year' is not a sentence, as it lacks a main verb.
    The verb is honor.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: How can I correct the verb tenses to make my sentences clearer?

    I think you'll find to honor is a verb.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: How can I correct the verb tenses to make my sentences clearer?

    Even if we Brits spell it 'honour', it's still a verb in this sentence.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: How can I correct the verb tenses to make my sentences clearer?

    In AmE we would probably say:

    He just missed

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    #8

    Re: How can I correct the verb tenses to make my sentences clearer?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    The verb is honor.
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewberlin View Post
    I think you'll find to honor is a verb.
    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Even if we Brits spell it 'honour', it's still a verb in this sentence.
    Of course it is.

    I'd just been reading about 'honor students' elsewhere.

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