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    • Join Date: Jul 2005
    • Posts: 928
    #1

    past perfect

    Hi,

    I would like to ask when I should use past perfect. I thought it was "earlier past", but in the following sentences I was advised to use "present perfect" although it is earlier past:

    The materials will be returned after the company has confirmed that the work has been accepted and that no defects have been found. (the work was accepted before the company confirmed its acceptation)

    He will be deemed to be in default if he joined any firm, company or consortium despite knowing that these entities provide services to EU customers. (the entities already provided the services before he joined them)

    And if rewritten, would the foregoing sentence be correct as follows?
    He will be deemed to be in default if he joined any firm, company or consortium although he had known that these entities provide/provded/had provided ??? services to EU customers.

    Thank you very much!

    Hanka


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: past perfect

    Understand, Hanka, that you did not state that all the formalities for acceptance and checking for faults had been done, completed, when you asked about choice of tense. That being so, then you could write:

    The materials will be returned after the company has confirmed that the work was accepted and that no defects were found. (the work was accepted and now the company will confirm its acceptance - the checking for faults and acceptance of the work is done, over, past.)

    He will be deemed to be in default if he joined any firm, company or consortium although he had known that these entities provide/provded/had provided ??? services to EU customers.

    The issue is, did the person join the company despite knowing they provided these services.

    He will be deemed to be/as being in default if he joined any firm, company or consortium knowing that these entities provide (if they still do - else:) provided (they used to but no longer, but he joined while they were still doing so.)...

    Hence, you may actually have to write:
    He will be deemed to be/as being in default if he joined any firm, company or consortium knowing that these entities provide, or provided/did provide at the time of his employment, services to the EU.

    Can you see that choosing the tense depends on knowledge of the whole circumstances? In the last part, for example, I am suggesting tenses when I do not really know what the regulations are surrounding this. So - does it matter if I did get a job with a firm that once did provide such services, but don't any more? Is this a "reminder" to people, or is this informing people of a new edict which has just come into operation? If the latter, then it doesn't apply to old employees and any use of past tense would be an error (since the nature of this law means it cannot be used retrospectively.)
    Last edited by David L.; 19-Nov-2007 at 14:59.


    • Join Date: Jul 2005
    • Posts: 928
    #3

    Re: past perfect

    Thanks for your patience

    So "The materials will be returned after the company has confirmed that the work had been accepted and that no defects had been found" is incorrect?


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #4

    Re: past perfect

    NO. Look at the beginning of my post. The work has already been accepted, the checking has been done, it's over, in the past. The company is currently in the process of confirming that is was accepted and was checked.
    Note the meaning of the word, "confirm". I means that the work has been reported as being accepted, but they are confirming that this is so.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 2
    #5

    Re: past perfect

    The first thing to remember is why we use past perfect.
    The past perfect is used to express two past actions that are finished and have no connection to now.
    Remember we use the past participle when constructing the past perfect.

    The past perfect tells us that one action happened before another action in the past:

    I went to see the movie, I had read about in the paper.

    I this sentence we see that the first action in real time is reading about the movie in the newspaper, and the second action in real time is going to see the movie.

    So lets look at your sentences (which seem to be a bit of legal English)

    The materials will be returned after the company has confirmed that the work has been accepted and no defects have been found.

    This sentence is telling us that the first action the company will do is to ensure the work is done and there are no defects, and after this the materials will be returned to the person who wants them.

    To use past simple we could say:
    The company will check the materials for defects prior to acceptance and before they are returned to the customer.

    The second sentence is:
    “He will be deemed to be in default if he joined any firm, company or consortium despite knowing that these entities provideservices to EU customers”.

    In other words, should he know that the firm, company or consortium provide services to EU customers BEFORE he joins said entity then he will be at fault.

    I would suggest this wording, but I am open to any suggestions:

    ”Despite knowing that said entities provide services to EU customers, he will be deemed to be at fault had he joined the entity at such a time.”

    “He will be held to be at fault should he join any firm, company or consortium that deals with EU customers, in the event that he knww prior to joining said firm, company or consortium that they did in fact deal with EU customers”

    Hope this helps, if I get a moment I will put something about this on my blog

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