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      • Native Language:
      • Hungarian
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    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #1

    If2

    Hello,

    I need help with the following.

    What would you say if you found out that your girlfriend ...?

    A left you
    B has left you
    C had left you

    Could you tell me which one is a proper ending if the woman actually did leave the man?

    Thanks.


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 28
    #2

    Re: If2

    A. past tense-represents action that occurred or existed before the present. Indefinite time.
    B. present perfect tense-an act just completed
    C. past perfect-action completed at a past time.

    It just depends on what the meaning of "is" is. :)


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #3

    Re: If2

    Quote Originally Posted by henryh View Post
    Hello,

    I need help with the following.

    What would you say if you found out that your girlfriend ...?

    A left you
    B has left you
    C had left you

    Could you tell me which one is a proper ending if the woman actually did leave the man?

    Thanks.
    That fact does not necessarily have any bearing on what the speaker might/may choose, Henry. Remember, speakers say what they want to say and sometimes they don't want to acknowledge that there are actual facts involved.


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
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    #4

    Re: If2

    Anyway, I'd vote for B (has left you).

    • Member Info
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      • English
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      • England
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    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585
    #5

    Re: If2

    For me, as a BrE speaker:

    A) This would not sound right to me: I would replace "left" with "had left". But it would sound fine with a stative verb (e.g. "...that your girlfriend hated you").

    B) would alarm me. I would expect "had" in the final clause; the "has" suggests that the speaker has accidentally moved from hypothesis to real events, and therefore inadvertently revealed that my girlfriend has indeed left me.

    C) This sounds fine to me. I agree that it doesn't tell us whether or not the girlfriend has really left.

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  1. apex2000's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: If2

    My girlfriend left me.
    My girlfriend has left me.
    My girlfriend had left me.

    All these can be correct; it depends upon when the man is speaking and in what context.

    A: Didn't you have a girlfriend?
    B: Ah, my girlfriend left me.

    A: Have you got a girlfriend?
    B: No, my girlfriend has left me.

    A: What happened to your girlfriend?
    B: When I returned from holidays I discovered that my girlfriend had left me.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #7

    Re: If2

    Henry wrote:

    What would you say if you found out that your girlfriend ...?

    A left you
    B has left you
    C had left you

    Could you tell me which one is a proper ending if the woman actually did leave the man?

    +++++++++++++++++++++

    There isn't a "proper ending", Henry. Again, it depends on what the speaker wants to say. Since it's posed as a theoretical, I guess we have to assume that the "boyfriend" doesn't know anything about his girlfriend leaving. But there are a lot of nuances possible here and we have to keep in mind the "machinations" that the speaker my be trying to play.

    [quote] MrP wrote:
    B) would alarm me. I would expect "had" in the final clause; the "has" suggests that the speaker has accidentally moved from hypothesis to real events, and therefore inadvertently revealed that my girlfriend has indeed left me.

    B could either alarm or have the 'boyfriend' doing cartwheels. I agree with you, MrP on your analysis here. But just because it does move the situation closer to the realm of realness wouldn't have to be taken by the boyfriend to mean that the girlfriend has actually left; he might know the speaker to be a bit of a sadist, a joker, a teaser.

    I think this highlights just how important context is. Context that must include the personalities, personal foibles and ulterior motives of the individuals involved.

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    #8

    Re: If2

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    B could either alarm or have the 'boyfriend' doing cartwheels...But just because it does move the situation closer to the realm of realness wouldn't have to be taken by the boyfriend to mean that the girlfriend has actually left; he might know the speaker to be a bit of a sadist, a joker, a teaser.
    Yes, that's true; it would only "alarm" me if (a) I didn't want my girlfriend to leave (b) I thought the speaker might be serious.

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

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