Even if I could not understand their language

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Bassim

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Please, would you take a look at my sentence and correct eventual mistakes.

1. Even if I could not understand their language, nor knew anything about their background, I felt that they all had the same goal: they wanted to succeed in the new country and had great plans for the future.
 

BobK

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Please, would you take a look at my sentence and correct [STRIKE]eventual [/STRIKE] any mistakes.

1. Even [STRIKE]if [/STRIKE] though I could not understand their language, nor knew anything about their background, I felt that they all had the same goal: they wanted to succeed in the new country and had great plans for the future.


The 'nor knew anything' is intelligible, at least in British English. But it would be better if you said either 'and knew nothing' or 'and didn't know anything'.

b
 

billmcd

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I think I would be inclined to use "know" ("could not understand [present tense] nor know.....")
 

Bassim

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billmcd
If we have the present in the first part of the sentence, how that will fit with the second part of the sentence, which is in the past?
 

billmcd

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billmcd
If we have the present in the first part of the sentence, how that will fit with the second part of the sentence, which is in the past?

Well, let's just reverse the verbs. Would you say, "Even though I did not know anything about their background, nor understood their language, I felt etc."? I wouldn't. With the simple present negative you revert to the base form of the verb and in the second portion of the sentence the negative form is implied. So, I would state the (non-implied) full form of your exanple as, "Even though I could not understand their language, nor could I/did I know anything about their background, I felt etc."
 

Bassim

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billmcd

Thank you so much for your time and your explanations. I really appreciate your help.
 
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