Grammar

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puzzle

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I read this from an essay:

I learned early that crying out in protest could accomplish things. My older brothers and sister would sometimes come in from school and ask for something. My mother, impatiently, would tell them no. But I would cry out and make a fuss until I got what I wanted. I remember well how my mother asked me why I couldn't be a nice boy.So early in life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.

I understand the writer is talking about something that happens in the past. Therefore, all verbs used past tense.

My questions are:
Why not " I remembered well how my mother........" but " I remember well...." and " I had learned that if you wanted something......." but " I had learned that if you want something....."
Please.
 

Horsa

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The first is easy to answer - it is because the act of remembering takes place in the author's present that is at the time of writing.

The second is more difficult to answer. The author probably strongly believes this was a lesson for life and that it still holds true for him now (his present again). If he had used 'wanted', it would make it more remote and might suggest he was a little embarrassed by this belief or perhaps that he wants the reader to understand that he has since modified his behaviour/opinion. I'm not sure everyone would agree with me on this though. :)
 

puzzle

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Could you tell me in which case people should say" I remembered..."?:roll:
 

riverkid

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Aug 17, 2006
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Could you tell me in which case people should say" I remembered..."?:roll:

I agree completely with Horsa. Great response.

We use remembered when we want to discuss a past time event of remembering. Horsa pointed out what remembered would have meant in that story.

Other examples, Puzzle:

I remembered to take the shovels in case I got stuck. I got stuck and they were essential.

I remembered to check the oil and trany fluid on the tractor.

I remembered to feed the dog. That was easy because she reminded me.

I remembered to water the calves. That too was easy 'cause they also reminded me. When I go near their pen they moo.

All specific events that denote an act of remembering at a specific time in the past, not a remembering right at this moment, of an event that occurred in the past.
 
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