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    #1

    had not long since

    I wondered that the porpoises had not long since gone away.

    This sentence is taken from Collins English Usage. I don't understand this sentence.
    1. Did the porpoises go away?
    2. If they had gone away, when? Not long before the time the speaker wondered that? Or not long after/since they arrived?

    Could I ask native speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: had not long since

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    I wondered that the porpoises had not long since gone away.

    This sentence is taken from Collins English Usage. I don't understand this sentence.
    1. Did the porpoises go away? Yes
    2. If they had gone away, when? Not long before the time the speaker wondered that? Exactly.
    Or not long after/since they arrived? No.

    Could I ask native speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.
    It is a difficult sentence, especially without a context, but I understand you don't have that.
    To me, it means that the speaker noticed that the porpoises had gone away, and then further noticed that it was not long ago that it must have happened.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: had not long since

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    I wondered that the porpoises had not long since gone away.

    This sentence is taken from Collins English Usage. I don't understand this sentence.
    1. Did the porpoises go away?
    2. If they had gone away, when? Not long before the time the speaker wondered that? Or not long after/since they arrived?

    Could I ask native speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.
    To me it means that the porpoises have not gone away, the speaker is surprised that they have not.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: had not long since

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    To me it means that the porpoises have not gone away, the speaker is surprised that they have not.
    Now that I read it again, I agree. The porpoises are still there.
    I knew there was something about the sentence that was disturbing!

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    #5

    Re: had not long since

    If the wording went like this, it would be easier to understand:
    1. I wondered that the porpoises had not gone away (long) since (point X).
    --->They were still there.
    --------A--------X----------B (the point of time when wondering)---------->Now

    2. I wondered that the porpoises had not long since gone away.
    I don't think this sentence is exactly the same as the above one.
    Maybe it could be interpreted as "the porpoises had just gone away"---Technically, they went away, but I was able to see them leaving.
    Last edited by henz988; 04-Jun-2009 at 07:49. Reason: ----> reason: A non-native speaker

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    #6

    Re: had not long since

    If the focus of negation is the verbs, the sentence means that the porpoises had stayed there for a long time, which surprised me.
    If the focus of negation is the word “long”, it means that the porpoises had left just a moment ago, which surprised me.
    It depends on the context.
    Am I right?
    Another question is whether it is possible that the focus of negation is the word “away”. If so, what does the sentence mean?
    A student.

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: had not long since

    I wondered that the porpoises had not long since gone away.

    I think that the confusion is caused by the use of the verb 'to wonder', which in this sentence means 'to be amazed'.
    In other words, 'I was amazed that the porpoises had not long since gone away.'

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    #8

    Re: had not long since

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I wondered that the porpoises had not long since gone away.

    I think that the confusion is caused by the use of the verb 'to wonder', which in this sentence means 'to be amazed'.
    In other words, 'I was amazed that the porpoises had not long since gone away.'
    Thank you both very much.
    I don't think the verb "wonder" matters too much.
    'I was amazed that the porpoises had stayed for long, because they should have left."
    'I was amazed that the porpoises had just left, because they should have stayed there longer."
    Did I make mistakes?
    Kindly give me a hand.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: had not long since

    Quote Originally Posted by norwolf View Post
    Thank you both very much.
    I don't think the verb "wonder" matters too much.
    'I was amazed that the porpoises had stayed for long, because they should have left."
    'I was amazed that the porpoises had just left, because they should have stayed there longer."
    Did I make mistakes?
    Kindly give me a hand.
    No. Sorry . That (slightly archaic) use of 'wonder' is crucial. If you want to replace it with 'I was amazed', fine. The point is that it is positive (whereas the more common use of 'wonder' is non-committal). It is positive, and the statement that follows it is 'they had not ... gone away': they hadn't.

    b

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