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Hi,

one of the questions you can often find in a questionnaire is "What is your greatest achievement?" People use different grammar structures/tenses etc. when they're answering, e.g.:

gerund: losing weight / surviving a tough childhood / etc...

present perfect: (that) I've lost weight / (that) I've...

past simple: I was accepted as a student at ... / I was accepted as...

Could you please answer the following questions?

1. Does the last example imply that the person's days at university are over? I'd say so.

2. Would you write "I survived a tough childhood" or "I've survived a tough childhood"? I'd go for the former. (To me "I survived a tough childhood" is just a fact about the past (i.e. I survived and it's over) whereas "I've survived a tough childhood", if correct, means "Look, I'm here and I'm alive" to me in the context of this questionnaire)

3. Would "I lost weight" sound odd? I'd say so - to me, it implies that the person has put on weight again. Therefore, losing weight couldn't be considered an achievement here.
(note on 2 and 3: if you lose weight, you can put it on again BUT when you survive your childhood, you can't "unsurvive" it - i.e. die in your childhood)

4. What about "being accepted as a student at..."? Sounds completely OK to me.

5. If you were still studying at that university, would you always use the present perfect version - "I've been accepted"? Would the past simple be possible at all here in this case? To be honest, it doesn't sound that bad to me. Emotion: wink

6. What would be your general guidelines as to when to use the gerund / past simple / present perfect in the answer? I'd say:
a. gerund - universal
b. past perfect - in achievements like losing weight , i.e. the achievement may not be permament, it's still valid
c. past simple - all except b.

I'm not sure how the "accepted as a student" example would fit in, though.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: I've just reread my post. How come the "be" precedes the subject in my question (#6)? I'm quite sure it's OK that way.

By the way, I've heard people say:

"What would/will be the result if.... ?" and "What would/will the result be if...?"

It's indeed a strange thing this position of "be" in questions with the future simple / present perfect simple / conditional.... Emotion: smile
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Hi,

one of the questions you can often find in a questionnaire is "What is your greatest achievement?" People use different grammar structures/tenses etc. when they're answering, e.g.:

gerund: losing weight / surviving a tough childhood / etc...

present perfect: (that) I've lost weight / (that) I've...

past simple: I was accepted as a student at ... / I was accepted as...

Could you please answer the following questions?

1. Does the last example imply that the person's days at university are over? I'd say so. Perhaps.

2. Would you write "I survived a tough childhood" or "I've survived a tough childhood"? I'd go for the former. (To me "I survived a tough childhood" is just a fact about the past (i.e. I survived and it's over) whereas "I've survived a tough childhood", if correct, means "Look, I'm here and I'm alive" to me in the context of this questionnaire) Either seems OK. The question is 'what is . . . ', not 'what was . . . '



3. Would "I lost weight" sound odd? I'd say so - to me, it implies that the person has put on weight again. Not necessarily. Therefore, losing weight couldn't be considered an achievement here. You often have to match the achievement against the purpose of the questionnaire. For a college application, 'winning a Nobel Prize' would be better than 'losing weight'.
(note on 2 and 3: if you lose weight, you can put it on again BUT when you survive your childhood, you can't "unsurvive" it - i.e. die in your childhood)

4. What about "being accepted as a student at..."? Sounds completely OK to me. Yes

5. If you were still studying at that university, would you always use the present perfect version - "I've been accepted"? Would the past simple be possible at all here in this case? To be honest, it doesn't sound that bad to me. I'd probably say 'Being accepted at . . . '

6. What would be your general guidelines as to when to use the gerund / past simple / present perfect in the answer? I'd say:
a. gerund - universal When in doubt, just use the gerund form.
b. past perfect - in achievements like losing weight , i.e. the achievement may not be permament, it's still valid
c. past simple - all except b.

I'm not sure how the "accepted as a student" example would fit in, though. Don't say this.

Best wishes, Clive

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Clive

3. Would "I lost weight" sound odd? I'd say so - to me, it implies that the person has put on weight again. Not necessarily. Therefore, losing weight couldn't be considered an achievement here. You often have to match the achievement against the purpose of the questionnaire. For a college application, 'winning a Nobel Prize' would be better than 'losing weight'.
(note on 2 and 3: if you lose weight, you can put it on again BUT when you survive your childhood, you can't "unsurvive" it - i.e. die in your childhood)

I'm not sure how the "accepted as a student" example would fit in, though. Don't say this.

Best wishes, Clive

Thanks for the answer(s), it must have taken a lot of time to read through that long post!

Comments:

Therefore, losing weight couldn't be considered an achievement here. -- What I thought was: It can't be an achievement if he / she has put on weight again (i.e. if he / she is fat again).

By "accepted as a student" example I was referring to the phrase "I was accepted as a student at", I wasn't suggesting that "accepted as a student"was a possible answer. Emotion: wink

What about the comments in the EDIT section? Shall I post it as a new thread and include more examples? It's been puzzling me for ages.



Hi,

Therefore, losing weight couldn't be considered an achievement here. -- What I thought was: It can't be an achievement if he / she has put on weight again (i.e. if he / she is fat again). Well, winning the World Chess Championshop is an achievement, even if you later lose it.

By "accepted as a student" example I was referring to the phrase "I was accepted as a student at", I wasn't suggesting that "accepted as a student" was a possible answer. I know.

What about the comments in the EDIT section? Shall I post it as a new thread and include more examples
? Yes. Too many questions makes it hard for people to respond. Start again, please.

Best wishes, Clive
PastsimpleHi,

one of the questions you can often find in a questionnaire is "What is your greatest achievement?" People use different grammar structures/tenses etc. when they're answering, e.g.:

gerund: losing weight / surviving a tough childhood / etc...

present perfect: (that) I've lost weight / (that) I've...

past simple: I was accepted as a student at ... / I was accepted as...

Could you please answer the following questions?

1. Does the last example imply that the person's days at university are over? I'd say so.

2. Would you write "I survived a tough childhood" or "I've survived a tough childhood"? I'd go for the former. (To me "I survived a tough childhood" is just a fact about the past (i.e. I survived and it's over) whereas "I've survived a tough childhood", if correct, means "Look, I'm here and I'm alive" to me in the context of this questionnaire)

3. Would "I lost weight" sound odd? I'd say so - to me, it implies that the person has put on weight again. Therefore, losing weight couldn't be considered an achievement here.
(note on 2 and 3: if you lose weight, you can put it on again BUT when you survive your childhood, you can't "unsurvive" it - i.e. die in your childhood)

4. What about "being accepted as a student at..."? Sounds completely OK to me.

5. If you were still studying at that university, would you always use the present perfect version - "I've been accepted"? Would the past simple be possible at all here in this case? To be honest, it doesn't sound that bad to me. Emotion: wink

6. What would be your general guidelines as to when to use the gerund / past simple / present perfect in the answer? I'd say:
a. gerund - universal
b. past perfect - in achievements like losing weight , i.e. the achievement may not be permament, it's still valid
c. past simple - all except b.

I'm not sure how the "accepted as a student" example would fit in, though.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: I've just reread my post. How come the "be" precedes the subject in my question (#6)? I'm quite sure it's OK that way.

By the way, I've heard people say:

"What would/will be the result if.... ?" and "What would/will the result be if...?"

It's indeed a strange thing this position of "be" in questions with the future simple / present perfect simple / conditional.... Emotion: smile



gerund: losing weight could be a great achievement for someone weighing a quarter of a tone!

present perfect: I've lost a little weight lately. This implies he is not as heavy as before. Perfect tense is fine.

past simple: I was accepted as a student at UCLA before I graduated high school. –ok to me.

Could you please answer the following questions?

1. Does the last example imply that the person's days at university are over? I'd say so.

I disagree. Consider this: what if the person was making this statement while he is in his second year of college? To determine the right answer to your question, it would have to depend on the full context.

2. Would you write "I survived a tough childhood" or "I've survived a tough childhood"?

I survived / suffered a tough childhood. This implied you are now an adult. Childhood is over. Unless you have additional events tied to your childhood. i.e. I had survived / suffered a tough childhood between my parents’ devoice and remarriage.



3. Would "I lost weight" sound odd? I'd say so - to me, it implies that the person has put on weight again. Not necessarily true. Consider this: Mary started a dietary and exercise program 3 months ago. Yesterday, she weighed and found herself 25 pounds lighter. She could say “ I lost weigh!”. That’s why we can’t determine the right answer with a one-liner.



4. What about "being accepted as a student at..."? Sounds completely OK to me.

Ok to me too…

5. If you were still studying at that university, would you always use the present perfect version - "I've been accepted"? Would the past simple be possible at all here in this case? To be honest, it doesn't sound that bad to me.

If you are still in high school and you are telling your friend that you have been accepted by UCLA, it’s perfectly fine. In fact, past simple won’t work well in this case.

6. What would be your general guidelines as to when to use the gerund / past simple / present perfect in the answer? I'd say:
a. gerund - universal
b. past perfect - in achievements like losing weight , i.e. the achievement may not be permament, it's still valid
c. past simple - all except b.

It’s not a simple answer. You have to put the gerund or questions about the tense in context with the sentence. It’s not possible to give you a guideline. It’s too vague.




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