Forums · General English Grammar & Vocabulary, Listening & Speaking · General English Grammar Questions
I think I have asked a question along this line in the past in this forum and I haven't gotten a response. Could you help?Correct the short example stories if you want please.
Does the use of a past perfect a must?
He bought a parrot that the seller said it would repeat every word he uttered. Contented, he went home and later found it didn't say a word. Furious, he weent back to the owner and asked him what happened. The owner answered that he had not lied (didn't lie OK??) to the man.
Does the use of a past perfect a must?
He went mountain climbing. On the way up the mountain, he saw what looked like a box covered in golden paper in a plastic bag. He thought he had gotten (got OK??) something that is worth a large sum of money but ended up finding there was trash in the bag.
I would use the past perfect forms underlined above. The author expects you to be focusing on the time of the customer's return to see the owner about the parrot, and what happened took place before that return visit. Obviously, the fact of the owner's not lying also took place before that return visit. Use the past perfect when the event you are mentioning takes place before the time in which the main narrative is taking place.
He thought he had discovered something worth a large sum of money ...
Again, I would use the past perfect. The time difference here is much shorter, however. The focus is on discovering something and then having a thought about it. By the time he considers whether the discovery is valuable or not, the discovery has already been made, so He thought he had discovered ...
There are sometimes differences of opinion with regard to the use of some of the tenses, so it is not always possible to say things like "The past perfect is required here" or "The past may not be used here". In my opinion, however, the past perfect is required in both of your examples.
The lying (or, in fact, absence of it) happened some time before the answering, so "had not lied" (or "hadn't lied") is correct. You might hear native speakers use "didn't lie" in this context, but it's sloppy (IMO) and you should avoid it.
He went mountain climbing. On the way up the mountain, he saw what looked like a box covered in golden paper in a plastic bag. He thought he had gotten (got OK??) something that
US usage is "gotten" and UK usage is "got". The following is from a British English perspective. I'm not certain if this explanation is also true in Amercan English (with "got" replaced by "gotten").
"Have/had got", in the sense you're using it, is a slightly tricky one. Literally, "have got" means something like "at some point in the past, I got (received/obtained) something, and I still have it", so literally it's the present perfect. Similarly, "had got" is literally the past perfect. However, this sense is, to varying degrees, suppressed, so "have got" can function almost like a present tense (meaning "have"), and "had got" almost like a simple past tense (meaning "had"). In your sentence "had got" is correct (though I suppose "had found" might be better). It can either suggest that he obtained it some time before the moment you're describing, or it can just mean that he had it in his possession. "He thought he had something..." is also OK and replicates the second sense.
People are waiting to help.
Live chatRegistered users can join here
Related forum topics:
Past Perfect?Simple past or past perfect?Usage of Past Perfect?simple past vs present perfect?tenses?would rather/It's high time + simple past...past tense or past perfect tense?tenses for the past ?must be past perfect?The use of the Past Perfect?Past perfect tenses or Present perfect tenses?because + past perfect?The Simple Past & The Past Perfect Tenses...Woud you use past perfect tenses here?Past perfect use?Past Tense and Past perfect Tense?"Past Probability + Tenses" combo?Unreal tenses?Past Simple and Present Perfect?Past tense,present or perfect?