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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    Smile 'the last of their food'

    *They arrived there before the last of their food was gone.

    Is there a difference between 'the last of their food' and 'their last food'?
    If there isn't any difference , which one is more often used?
    Thanks in advance.


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    #2

    Re: 'the last of their food'

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    *They arrived there before the last of their food was gone.

    Is there a difference between 'the last of their food' and 'their last food'?
    If there isn't any difference , which one is more often used?
    Thanks in advance.
    ...before they had run out of all of their food.
    Yes, there is a difference. We do not normally say "their last food". Instead, we more likely to say: "the last of their food".


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    #3

    Re: 'the last of their food'

    They arrived there before the last of their food had gone.

    Anyone interested in why?

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Cool Re: 'the last of their food'

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    They arrived there before the last of their food had gone.

    Anyone interested in why?
    There was no action of the last of their food being gone, if you know what I mean.

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    #5

    Re: 'the last of their food'

    Yes, I'm very interested to know why? Please elucidate!

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    #6

    Re: 'the last of their food'

    Their food still existed, so the situation is hypothetical, we use the subjunctive 'had'?


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    #7

    Re: 'the last of their food'

    In "the food was gone", 'gone' is an adjective and 'was', being the Simple Past tense, is merely stating an objective fact.
    compare:
    The food goes quickly with three children to feed.
    The food went quickly. People must have been hungry.
    The food had gone before the rest of the party arrived.

    In, "before the last of their food had gone", it has been changed to the Past Perfect.

    There was going to come some point when the food that they had with them was going to be all eaten - gone. It just so happens this point happened after they arrived - they still had some with them when they arrived. Big deal.

    Using the Past Perfect transports this mundane objective fact into the more dramatic world of the hypothetical, and in so doing, emphasizes the dramatic importance that they arrived before this happened:
    But what if it had run out before they arrived? What if all the food had gone? 'because if it had all gone before they arrived, who knows...well, I mean...there was the Donner party.'

    The whole point being, that in writing, we can quite correctly state mundane facts: 'before the food was gone'.......
    ...... or add some dramatic effect!

    "...before the food had gone. A frisson of icy cold realization of how close to personal horror he had come, shook his body. Without ready food supplies, he knew the other men would not hesitate to eat his prize huskies."


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    #8

    Re: 'the last of their food'

    In "the food was gone", 'gone' is an adjective and 'was', being the Simple Past tense, is merely stating an objective fact.
    compare:
    The food goes quickly with three children to feed.
    The food went quickly. People must have been hungry.
    The food had gone before the rest of the party arrived.

    In, "before the last of their food had gone", it has been changed to the Past Perfect.

    There was going to come some point when the food that they had with them was going to be all eaten - gone. It just so happens this point happened after they arrived - they still had some with them when they arrived. Big deal.

    Using the Past Perfect transports this mundane objective fact into the more dramatic world of the hypothetical, and in so doing, emphasizes the dramatic importance that they arrived before this happened:
    But what if it had run out before they arrived? What if all the food had gone? 'because if it had all gone before they arrived, who knows...well, I mean...there was the Donner party.'

    The whole point being, that in writing, we can quite correctly state mundane facts: 'before the food was gone', or add some dramatic effect!

    "...before the food had gone. He could no longer stave off the thought, of how close to disaster this had come, and the crash of icy cold realization - colder than the Arctic wind outside - shook his body. Without ready food supplies, he knew the other men would not have hesitated to eat his prized huskies."

    (This may well be another instance where certain members now descend to...let me just say.. express vehement contrary views.
    I have contributed a perspective for anyone interested...and I am not interested in engaging in any futile 'to-and-fro-ing' debate.
    END.)
    Last edited by David L.; 14-Apr-2009 at 06:09.


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    #9

    Re: 'the last of their food'

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    They arrived there before the last of their food had gone.

    Anyone interested in why?
    We often emphasise the idea of completition by using the past perfect after "before".

    engee:
    There was no action of the last of their food being gone, if you know what I mean.

    I do not know what you mean. Please elborate.

    David, your vivid description, which I really enjoyed, is it the product of your wild imagination or is it a generally accepted rethorical nuance?


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    #10

    Re: 'the last of their food'

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    (This may well be another instance where certain members now descend to...let me just say.. express vehement contrary views.
    I have contributed a perspective for anyone interested...and I am not interested in engaging in any futile 'to-and-fro-ing' debate.
    END.)
    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press

    Why??

    I think we are all grateful for your ideas, your nice turn of phrases, metaphors. Very informative. I will chew the cud. Thanks.

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