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  1. VIP Member
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    #1

    When Ben grew up

    Have I made any mistakes?

    When Ben grew up, he would often think about his parents. They were obsessed with work and didn't bother to spend much time with him. They had bought him many toys, but he needed love and attention. If he had been able to choose, he would have certainly chosen different parents, more caring and less fixated on material things. He wished he could talk with them about the past, and how they harmed him, but they lived in a different world and would not understand anything. They probably had not got much love from their parents either, and didn't know what it meant. Ben wondered why they had a child when their careers had been the most important things in their lives.

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    #2

    Re: When Ben grew up

    Are you writing about Ben's thoughts as he grew up, or when he had grown up?
    Retired proofreader. ESL tutor. Not a teacher. Nor a typist, evidently.

  3. VIP Member
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    #3

    Re: When Ben grew up

    I am writing about his thoughts when he had grown up.
    Should I start with "When Ben had grown up, he would often think about his parents."?

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    #4

    Re: When Ben grew up

    Yes, start it with "had grown up". And pay particular attention to the sequence of tenses throughout: what you should express by the past perfect and the simple past.
    Last edited by abaka; 01-Sep-2019 at 20:00. Reason: I love typos.
    Retired proofreader. ESL tutor. Not a teacher. Nor a typist, evidently.

  5. VIP Member
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    #5

    Re: When Ben grew up

    abaka,

    One of my weak point in English is that I often mix the past perfect and the simple past, although I know the rule. With the past perfect I should write things that happened and ended in the past. The things that happened after should be expressed with the simple past.
    Maybe I should start my second sentence with "had been" instead of "were".

    They had been obsessed with work and didn't bother to spend much time with him.

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    #6

    Re: When Ben grew up

    Yes. And keep going until you've finished revising the entire paragraph. "Weak points".
    Retired proofreader. ESL tutor. Not a teacher. Nor a typist, evidently.

  7. VIP Member
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    #7

    Re: When Ben grew up

    Would this version be OK?
    When Ben had grown up, he would often think about his parents. They had been obsessed with work and didn't bother to spend much time with him. They had bought him many toys, but he needed love and attention. If he had been able to chose, he would have certainly chosen different parents, more caring and less fixated on material things. He wished he could talk with them about the past, and how they had harmed him, but they lived in a different world, and would not understand anything. They probably had not got much love from their parents either, and didn't know what it meant. Ben wondered why they had had a child when their careers had been the most important things in their lives.

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    #8

    Re: When Ben grew up

    Only a couple of quibbles.

    When Ben had grown up, he would often think about his parents. They had been obsessed with work and hadn't bothered to spend much time with him. They had bought him many toys, but he had needed love and attention. If he had been able to chose, he would have certainly chosen different parents -- more caring and less fixated on material things. He wished he could talk with them about the past, and how they had harmed him, but they lived in a different world, and would not understand anything. They probably had not got much love from their parents either, and didn't know what it meant. Ben wondered why they had had a child when their careers had been the most important things in their lives.
    Retired proofreader. ESL tutor. Not a teacher. Nor a typist, evidently.

  9. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #9

    Re: When Ben grew up

    I'd use they bought.

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