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About the tense in a subordinate that-cause, if the main clause is the past perfect, I think it's normally 'S+had ...ed+that S'+...ed.' So, is ''S+had ...ed+that S'+ had ...ed.' grammatically wrong? If you native speakers saw a sentence like 'I had thought that he had been busy', how would you interpret it?
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I just asked this question strictly from a grammatical point of view: what happens in that-clause in 'S+past perfect+that ...'

So, to summerize the point, it's:

(a) We don't have to make the subordinate noun clause the past perfect even if the main clause is the past perfect.
(b) Even if the sentence is a double-past perfect (i.e S+had ...ed that S' ...ed), it's essentially the same as a single-past perfect (i.e. S+had ...ed that S'+...ed) in its meaning.

Right, Clive?
Hi Taka,

So, to summarize the point, it's:
(a) We don't have to make the subordinate noun clause the past perfect even if the main clause is the past perfect.
(b) Even if the sentence is a double-past perfect (i.e S+had ...ed that S' ...ed), it's essentially the same as a single-past perfect (i.e. S+had ...ed that S'+...ed) in its meaning.



Like I said, I wouldn't say it's incorrect grammar at all. It just sounds very old-fashioned and elaborate.

I don't want to get into a position where I say flatly that you'd never want to use the 'fuller' versions in any situation. But in general, I'd say 'Yeah, I agree with your last post'.

Clive

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OK. Thank you!
Clive, I appreciate your comments.

Could you tell me if my interpretation of the sentences below is correct?

1. "I thought he is busy." Does it mean that "he is not busy" (now) ?

2. "I thought he was busy". Doea it mean that "he was not busy" (ex. yesterday)?

thank you
Hi,

1. "I thought he is busy." Does it mean that "he is not busy" (now) ?

I can't think of a situation where you would say this. It's like you are telling me that in the past you had an opinion about the present.

2. "I thought he was busy". Doea it mean that "he was not busy" (ex. yesterday)?

You are telling me that at some point in the past, you thought he was busy. These actual words don't tell me whether he really was busy or not, just what you thought about it. Maybe you were right, maybe not.

The actual words also don't tell me anything about the present situation.

Often, the context adds a lot of meaning to the sentences we say.

Please write again if you have more questions about my explanation, OK?

Best wishes, Clive



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thanks Clive, now I can see the logic behind it, thanks again.