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    #51

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    I prefer to discuss further till I finish.
    In general, can Can we say a sentence like that this? "He had broken into our house after we all had gone to bed"
    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    Ok, but what do you feel about this sentence? Do you find it odd or strange or even formal?
    It's not formal. It's a grammatically fine sentence, but it's hard to think of a context in which it would be natural.

    Remember to capitalize only proper nouns, titles, and the first word of a sentence.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #52

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    The use of the first past perfect is not warranted. It's grammatical, but there's no reason for it. You need something happening after the past perfect to make it even worth considering.
    "I hit him with the baseball bat because he had broken into our house after we had all gone to bed." You could use it there. I wouldn't, but at least you'd have some justification. Very often one sentence is not enough to warrant the use of the past perfect tense. The context is also important. For example:
    A: "Why did you hit him with the baseball bat?"
    B: "Because he had broken into our house."
    This is defensible, but simply supplying a sentence, "He had broken into our house" is useless in respect of deciding whether it should be in the past perfect. Your example is like this.

    Last edited by Raymott; 20-Jul-2016 at 17:15. Reason: typo

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    #53

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    It's not formal. It's a grammatically fine sentence, but it's hard to think of a context in which it would be natural.
    I have seem a lot of examples like this and they are very common, indeed, which indicates that they are natural for many people. Do you find them somewhat odd or strange?
    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Remember to capitalize only proper nouns, titles, and the first word of a sentence.
    Thanks for this.

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    #54

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    I have seem a lot of examples like this and they are very common, indeed, which indicates that they are natural for many people. Do you find them somewhat odd or strange?
    Please post some examples in a new thread when you find them. We can comment on them there.

    It was hard to think of a natural context for the specific sentence you proposed. Similar sentences could be perfectly natural.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #55

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    The use of the first past perfect is not warranted. It's grammatical, but there's no reason for it. You need something happening after the past perfect to make it even worth considering.
    "I hit him with the baseball bat because he had broken into our house after we had all gone to bed." You could use it there. I wouldn't, but at least you'd have some justification. Very often one sentence is not enough to warrant the use of the past perfect tense. The context is also important. For example:
    A: "Why did you hit him with the baseball bat?"
    B: "Because he had broken into our house."
    This is defensible, but simply supplying a sentence, "He had broken into our house" is meaningless in respect of deciding whether it should be in the past perfect. Your example is like this.
    These are perfect notes, indeed.
    Can I understand, in brief, that "putting two sentences, with a time conjunction such as "after", in the past perfect is only allowed in the existence of a third past action"? Is that acceptable or correct?

  6. man of manners's Avatar
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    #56

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Please post some examples in a new thread when you find them. We can comment on them there.
    It was hard to think of a natural context for the specific sentence you proposed. Similar sentences could be perfectly natural.
    Thanks for your reply.
    I see that a lot of people are comfortable with this usage in both formal and informal contexts, which indicates they find it natural.
    And I will post examples here so that we can discuss each of them. I wouldn't post them in a new thread to keep all the information concerning this question in one thread, not dispersed.

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    #57

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    I think I understand what you mean, but it would be better if you wrote examples.
    No use of the past perfect is justified unless there is an action that happens after it which is not in the past perfect. This later action doesn't have to be in the same sentence.
    If you have a sentence with seven clauses in the past perfect, you still need another clause in the simple past. Otherwise the most recent of the seven events should be in the simple past. There are no valid complete uses of the past perfect that don't contain a more recent action that is not written in the past perfect.

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    #58

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I think I understand what you mean, but it would be better if you wrote examples.
    I have had a couple of sentences that were very confusing to me.
    1- Did you know that Jonathan had been punished because he had behaved badly?
    2- She had missed the English lesson because she had been ill, so she phoned her friend and asked what homework they had been given.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    No use of the past perfect is justified unless there is an action that happens after it which is not in the past perfect. This later action doesn't have to be in the same sentence.
    If you have a sentence with seven clauses in the past perfect, you still need another clause in the simple past. Otherwise the most recent of the seven events should be in the simple past. There are no valid complete uses of the past perfect that don't contain a more recent action that is not written in the past perfect.
    I completely agree. Thanks.

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    #59

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    1- Did you know that Jonathan had been punished because he had behaved badly?
    The past perfect is not essential with 'had been punished' or 'had behaved. Common sense tells us that the behaving badly preceded the punishment for that bad behaviour. Equaly, common sense tells us that the punishment preceded the question about knowledge of it.

    However, the 'that Jonathan had been punished' clause may be seen as a form of indirect speeech, and the past perfect, a backshifted form of the present perfect and of the past simple, is grammatically correct. As the bad behaviour preceded the punishment, then the past perfect 'had behaved' is also grammatically correct.

    We are often more flexible in the use of tenses in such sitiations than some course books and student grammars suggest.

  10. man of manners's Avatar
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    #60

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    The past perfect is not essential with 'had been punished' or 'had behaved. Common sense tells us that the behaving badly preceded the punishment for that bad behaviour. Equally, common sense tells us that the punishment preceded the question about knowledge of it.
    However, the 'that Jonathan had been punished' clause may be seen as a form of indirect speeech, and the past perfect, a backshifted form of the present perfect and of the past simple, is grammatically correct. As the bad behaviour preceded the punishment, then the past perfect 'had behaved' is also grammatically correct.
    We are often more flexible in the use of tenses in such sitiations than some course books and student grammars suggest.
    I agree with this but do you agree with me on this, "putting two sentences, with a time conjunction such as "after", in the past perfect is only allowed in the existence of a third past action in the past simple"?
    Also, why don't you tackle the second sentence?

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