Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

    • Join Date: May 2009
    • Posts: 6
    #1

    Cool Should it be has or had ?

    Hi,

    Hope someone can help with this question:

    Although Tom (has, had) an extra ruler, he did not lend it to Susan.

    Please provide an explanation for the choice of answer.

    Thank you.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #2

    Re: Should it be has or had ?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpteo View Post
    Hi,

    Hope someone can help with this question:

    Although Tom (has, had) an extra ruler, he did not lend it to Susan.

    Please provide an explanation for the choice of answer.

    Thank you.
    "had" is correct because you are talking about a time in the past, even though it may have been just a few seconds ago. Perhaps now Tom doesn't have an extra ruler any more.

    "has" would be correct in the following sentence. Although Tom has an extra ruler, he (won't)(doesn't want to) lend it to Susan.


    • Join Date: May 2009
    • Posts: 6
    #3

    Cool Re: Should it be has or had ?

    You say the answer "had" is correct because it is talking about a time in the past, even though it may have been just a few seconds ago. Perhaps now Tom doesn't have an extra ruler any more.

    What about if Tom still has an extra ruler, then does this mean "has" is the correct answer?




    • Join Date: May 2009
    • Posts: 6
    #4

    Cool Re: Should it be has or had ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    "had" is correct because you are talking about a time in the past, even though it may have been just a few seconds ago. Perhaps now Tom doesn't have an extra ruler any more.

    "has" would be correct in the following sentence. Although Tom has an extra ruler, he (won't)(doesn't want to) lend it to Susan.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    You say the answer "had" is correct because it is talking about a time in the past, even though it may have been just a few seconds ago. Perhaps now Tom doesn't have an extra ruler any more.

    What about if Tom still has an extra ruler, then does this mean "has" is the correct answer?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #5

    Re: Should it be has or had ?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpteo View Post
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    You say the answer "had" is correct because it is talking about a time in the past, even though it may have been just a few seconds ago. Perhaps now Tom doesn't have an extra ruler any more.

    What about if Tom still has an extra ruler, then does this mean "has" is the correct answer?
    No, it doesn't matter if Tom still has an extra ruler.
    Only "had" can be used in your original sentence, because it is talking about the past. That is the most important thing.

    The fact that Tom may not have an extra ruler now is a less important reason that you can not use "has".
    Last edited by 2006; 11-May-2009 at 03:46.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #6

    Re: Should it be has or had ?

    "Sorry I couldn't come on Saturday. We're/ We are a two-car family, but Mum was using hers and Dad refused to let me drive the Mercedes."

    = Although we have two cars, I wasn't able to borrow one.

    Which tense the speaker uses depends on his frame of reference. Here, I have used Present tense because we did last Saturday, and still do, own two cars.

    So -
    Although Tom owns two rulers, he did not lend one to Susan when she needed it.
    Although Tom has an extra ruler, he did not lend it to Susan.
    (The speaker sees "Tom has an extra ruler' as a fact, true when Susan wanted it back then, and that he still does have an extra ruler - but that he didn't lend it to Susan when she needed it.)

    Although Tom had an extra ruler, he did not lend it to Susan.
    The speaker is seeing this as purely a past incident involving Tom and Susan, and when she needed a ruler, Tom refused to lend his spare one.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #7

    Re: Should it be has or had ?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    "Sorry I couldn't come on Saturday. We're/ We are a two-car family, but Mum was using hers and Dad refused to let me drive the Mercedes."

    = Although we have two cars, I wasn't able to borrow one.

    Which tense the speaker uses depends on his frame of reference. Here, I have used Present tense because we did last Saturday, and still do, own two cars.

    So -
    Although Tom owns two rulers, he did not lend one to Susan when she needed it.
    Although Tom has an extra ruler, he did not lend it to Susan.
    (The speaker sees "Tom has an extra ruler' as a fact, true when Susan wanted it back then, and that he still does have an extra ruler - but that he didn't lend it to Susan when she needed it.)

    Although Tom had an extra ruler, he did not lend it to Susan.
    The speaker is seeing this as purely a past incident involving Tom and Susan, and when she needed a ruler, Tom refused to lend his spare one.
    David has raised a valid point and widened the discussion.
    If we know that Tom always has an extra ruler with him and never lends it to anyone else, either "has" or "had" would be correct.

    But since we have to make the above assumptions for "has" to be correct, and because "had" would still be correct with the above assumptions, "had" is by far the best choice.
    I would only say "had". (talking about a moment in the past and not needing any assumptions)
    Last edited by 2006; 11-May-2009 at 09:09. Reason: spelling


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #8

    Re: Should it be has or had ?

    No, 2006 - those assumptions are just that - unjustifiable assumptions.

    As I speak, and refer to Tom and his rulers, my perspective is that Tom owns two rulers, does now to my knowledge and hence my use of the Present tense form when referring to a current fact; and had two rulers at the time he was asked, as opposed to:

    'he did/used to, or at least he did have two rulers when he was asked to lend one' - "he had two rulers back then" but not now.

    and not, as you say, that he always has two rulers with him. All we know is that he owned two back then when asked, and as I, the speaker see it, still does own two rulers.

    ...As is the gross assumption that Tom is so selfish 'he never lends it'. The sentence merely states, he did not lend it on this occasion, when asked by Susan.
    Last edited by David L.; 11-May-2009 at 09:35.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #9

    Re: Should it be has or had ?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post

    had two rulers at the time he was asked,

    The sentence merely states, he did not lend it on this occasion, when asked by Susan.
    That's why we should say '...had an extra ruler...'.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #10

    Re: Should it be has or had ?

    Yes - yes - that's one possibility:

    Although Tom had an extra ruler, he did not lend it to Susan.
    The speaker is seeing this as purely a past incident involving Tom and Susan, and when she needed a ruler, Tom refused to lend his spare one.

    Another perspective taken by the speaker could be:
    Although Tom has an extra ruler, he did not lend it to Susan.
    (The speaker sees "Tom has an extra ruler' as a fact - he owns two rulers - true when Susan wanted it back then, and true now as I speak: he still does have an extra ruler - 'He own two rulers. It wouldn't have hurt him to lend one to Susan when she asked.')
    Both are possible.
    I gave an example of this 'seeing it from the speaker's perspective' even when we are referring to an incident in the past, when I started my post:
    "Sorry I couldn't come on Saturday. We're/ We are a two-car family, but Mum was using hers and Dad refused to let me drive the Mercedes."

    It would be nonsensical for me, the speaker, to say:
    "Sorry I couldn't come on Saturday. We were a two-car family, but Mum was using hers and Dad refused to let me drive the Mercedes."
    ...when we still own the same two cars we owned last Saturday.

    I raised this issue so that bpteo is not left believing that only the Past tense form is acceptable/possible.
    Last edited by David L.; 11-May-2009 at 10:00.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •