[Grammar] Past Perfect

Status
Not open for further replies.

bottomup44

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Korean
Home Country
South Korea
Current Location
South Korea
I don't understand why the past perfect tense had to be used in the highlighted part below.

It was Sally’s birthday, and the whole family was having a party. When Sally started opening her presents, her little brother, Ted, asked their mom if he could go to the bathroom. She said “Yes,” but he wanted her to go with him. Their father told him that he didn’t need anyone to take him to the bathroom anymore. He could go by himself now. But Ted didn’t go to the bathroom. He stayed in the room where Sally was opening her presents. After a few minutes, he asked his dad to get him a glass for water. He told him to wait until Sally had finished opening her presents or go to the bathroom by himself and use the glass he could reach. He still didn’t go.

As far as I know, past perfect is used to indicate "earlier past". But here when the dad talked to the son, Sally hadn't finished opening her presents yet. For example,

When Eisenhower announced his reelection bid in February 1956, he hedged on the choice of his running mate, stating that it was improper to address that question until he had been renominated.


Is this grammatically correct? Can't I use a different expression, such as "until he would have been renominated" or "until he was renominated"? Thank you for your help in advance.
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
He told him to wait until Sally had finished opening her presents or go to the bathroom by himself and use the glass he could reach. He still didn’t go.

As far as I know, past perfect is used to indicate "earlier past". But here when the dad talked to the son, Sally hadn't finished opening her presents yet.
The father's actual words were "Wait until Sally has finished opening her presents". When we report speech, we normally backshift present (perfect) tenses to past (perfect tenses.
For example,

When Eisenhower announced his reelection bid in February 1956, he hedged on the choice of his running mate, stating that it was improper to address that question until he had been renominated.


Is this grammatically correct? Can't I use a different expression, such as "until he would have been renominated"?
No.

Eisenhower's words were, "It is improper for me to address that question until I have been renominated". In both these direct words and Sally's fathers direct words, the so-called future perfect (will have opened, will have been nominated) are incorrect. In temporal clauses (introduced by when, before, after, until, etc) we use a present tense. So, as we cannot say 'will have opened/been nominated', we cannot report this as 'would have opened/been nominated'.
 

bottomup44

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Korean
Home Country
South Korea
Current Location
South Korea
No.

Eisenhower's words were, "It is improper for me to address that question until I have been renominated". In both these direct words and Sally's fathers direct words, the so-called future perfect (will have opened, will have been nominated) are incorrect. In temporal clauses (introduced by when, before, after, until, etc) we use a present tense. So, as we cannot say 'will have opened/been nominated', we cannot report this as 'would have opened/been nominated'.

Thank you very much, 5jj. That clarifies my confusion perfectly. :)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top