+0
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?
1 2
Comments  
Interpretation: now I don't think he was busy then.
Hi,

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

Because of this 'quaint' air, I had thought can be used to suggest irritation politely, which is something the British are good at doing. If my wife says to me I had thought you were going to wash the dishes, she is really saying I thought you were going to wash them but now I have seen that you are a lazy swine.

Best wishes, Clive
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Clive,
I wouldn't say it's incorrect grammar at all. It just sounds very old-fashioned and elaborate.

Do you mean 'I had thought that he had been busy' is essentially the same as ''I had thought that he was busy' in its meaning, but the former is a bit old-fashioned in its style, compared to the latter?
Clive?
Hi,

Do you mean 'I had thought that he had been busy' is essentially the same as ''I had thought that he was busy' in its meaning, but the former is a bit old-fashioned in its style, compared to the latter?


'Essentially', yes, meaning without splitting hairs. I think what you'd usually say is I thought he was busy. If you wanted to use past perfect, I think you'd be more likely to say I thought he'd been busy.

Sorry for the slow response. I had been busy. Clive



Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
hello everybody,

I remember being taught that in senetnces like those we should use 'the sequence of tenses' i.e. if we talk about the past we should say "I thought he'd been busy" and if we mean that he is busy now we should say "I thought he was busy" .

According to Clive they both mean the same, it means that if we want to say that he is busy now we should say "I thought he is busy". Is the latter correct? (I'm not sure but I think that I was taught that it is not correct.)

Could I have , please, some comments on when "the sequence of tense" is necessary?

Thank you
Hello there. I have a little question, please let me ask, using this opportunity.

The past form of〖was busy〗(i.e. past of past, in the end) is〖had been busy〗, right?
The past form of〖has been busy〗, too,〖had been busy〗.

Seems the distinction between【past perfect】&【past of past】is not so important for most of languages. But I'm not sure at all.

(Sorry for my interruption, Taka, MM, Clive and yogi.)
Hi guys,

Yogi asked for opinions from others, so I'll stand back a bit. However, let me just add this comment first.

Yogi said According To Clive, they both mean the same but what I actually said was 'Essentially', yes, meaning without splitting hairs. What I meant by that was this. Sure, we often need to use the Past Perfect. However, there are lots of situations where we could use it but we don't. Sometimes, the sequence of events is clear without it. Other times, we just can't be bothered to speak with precision and instead, if necessary, we can clarify the sequence of events later in the conversation.

I find that one way to identify that someone with good English is a non-native speaker is that they will over-use the Past Perfect in places where a native speaker wouldn't. I'm not saying that it is always wrong to do so, I'm just trying to explain a little about natural usage.

That's why I wrote what I did.

When I said, at the end, Sorry for the slow response. I had been busy that was a little joke, because more natural would be Sorry for the slow response. I was busy.

Best wishes, again. Clive
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more