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Hello, everyone,

Mrs. Klein told her first graders to draw a picture of something to be thankful for. She thought that most of the class would draw turkeys or Thanksgiving tables. But Douglas drew something different.

Douglas was a boy who usually spent time alone and stayed around her while his classmates went outside together during break time. What the boy drew was a hand. But whose hand? His image immediately attracted the other students’ interest.

So, everyone rushed to talk about whose hand it was. “It must be the hand of God that brings us food,” said one student. “A farmer’s,” said a second student, “because they raise the turkeys.” “It looks more like a police officer’s,” added another, “they protect us.”

The class was so responsive that Mrs. Klein had almost forgotten about Douglas. After she had the others at work on another project, she asked Douglas whose hand it was. He answered softly, “It’s yours. Thank you, Mrs. Klein.”

I guess the author’s intention to have used “past perfect” in the underlined part would be one of the following two;

1) To express the time line from (A) the earlier past until (B) the time that the class was so responsive, if I interpret “so ~ that ~ ” clause to be “to such a degree that”, or

2) To express the time line from (B) the time that the class was so responsive (C) the later past, if I interpret “so ~ that ~ ” clause to be “cause and result”

I would appreciate if you guide which is better one, while I’m inclined to 1).

* source; https://www.rd.com/article/thanksgiving-story/

+1

You bring up two different points here.

As for the first point, I'd say that interpreting 'so ... that' as 'to such a degree that' and considering 'so ... that' an indication of a cause-and-effect relationship are not contradictory. Both of these are characteristics of the kind of sentence you're dealing with here.

The second point is the problem of finding and placing the relevant events along a time line which can rationally explain the use of the past perfect.

It turns out that in a small, special group of idiomatic expressions, the past perfect seems to apply to a rather vague point in time at which perception has failed. The point where this failure is eventually noticed, which is usually in the very recent past, is the second point in time. The statement as a whole is actually an expression of the realization in present time of a process which had been going on previously.

............ past time ...................... X (X = present moment)
....... - - - - - - - - - - - - - - !!! X
......... f o r g e t t i n g ........ ^ X (^ = moment of realization)


The process of forgetting is the focus in your example, but it's almost the only example of an affirmative verb phrase in one of these expressions. Usually the verb phrase is negative, and in that case it's usually a state rather than a process.

So the following expressions are typically said immediately after the speaker has been made aware of something that he had not been aware of just a moment before.

I hadn't noticed that. / I hadn't thought of that. / I hadn't considered that. / I hadn't seen that. / I hadn't heard that. / I hadn't remembered that.

(The subject need not be "I", and the object need not be "that", of course.)


deepcosmosI’m inclined to 1).

I think that's a reasonable interpretation.

CJ

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CalifJimThe process of forgetting is the focus in your example, but it's almost the only example of an affirmative verb phrase in one of these expressions. Usually the verb phrase is negative, and in that case it's usually a state rather than a process.So the following expressions are typically said immediately after the speaker has been made aware of something that he had not been aware of just a moment before.I hadn't noticed that. / I hadn't thought of that. / I hadn't considered that. / I hadn't seen that. / I hadn't heard that. / I hadn't remembered that.

Hi, CJ, deeply appreciate yours. My last question about such a context above which is usually a state rather than a process with the negative verb phrase, is why the natives prefer 'I hadn't noticed that' to 'I didn't noticed that'? Is simple past maybe not enough to express the duration of a process which had been going on previously, if any?

deepcosmos... why the natives prefer 'I hadn't noticed that' to 'I didn't noticed notice that'?

Consider this:

I hadn't noticed that before you told me about it.

Does that help at all? (If not, you may just have to accept my word for it that the past perfect is preferred in these cases.)

(I didn't notice that is not wrong, but in the given situation, it's not as natural.)

Examples follow. Note that they all involve some kind of revelation of information not previously known.


A police officer stops you for speeding.

Officer: You were driving 20 miles over the speed limit.
You: Gosh! There was no traffic, so I hadn't even noticed how fast I was going. (before you told me)


Two women talking about a mutual friend.

— Did you notice that Laura never orders meat when we go out to eat? She must be a vegetarian.
— That's strange. I had never heard that she's a vegetarian. (before you suggested it)


Two moderators' PMs on a forum.

— Why did you post that? It's exactly the same answer as mine.
— Oh, sorry. I hadn't noticed that you had already posted before me.


At a crowded party.

— It looks like Frank and Meghan just broke up.
— Really? What happened?
— Well, they had quite a heated argument just over there in the corner of the room, and Frank just walked out.
— Gee. I was so involved in a conversation with Samantha that I hadn't noticed the fireworks. (before you told me)


Teacher: Why don't you rephrase the sentence so that the prepositional phrase is at the beginning?
Student: Wow! Good idea. I hadn't thought of that. (before you suggested it)

CJ

CalifJimI hadn't noticed that before you told me about it.
Gosh! There was no traffic, so I hadn't even noticed how fast I was going. (before you told me)
I had never heard that she's a vegetarian. (before you suggested it)
— Oh, sorry. I hadn't noticed that you had already posted before me.
— Gee. I was so involved in a conversation with Samantha that I hadn't noticed the fireworks. (before you told me)
Student: Wow! Good idea. I hadn't thought of that. (before you suggested it)

Hi, CJ, I just woke up. Everything has suddenly become clear no sooner than I saw your fine and elaborate examples especially with omitted part. How can I thank you enough?

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deepcosmosHow can I thank you enough?

Well, since you asked ...

Try to nail down your understanding by filling in the blank below.

You are traveling by train. There's a man already seated there when you enter the train. He has put his newspaper on the empty seat next to him, which is your seat. You're in a hurry, and you're not paying close attention, so you just sit down in your seat next to him.

The man says, "Excuse me, sir. You're sitting on my newspaper!"

You say, "I'm so sorry! ________________________".

(What goes in the blank?)

CJ

CalifJimThe man says, "Excuse me, sir. You're sitting on my newspaper!"You say, "I'm so sorry! ________________________".

Hi, CJ, thanks for your caring me to the last. If I'm following you correctly, I would have to say, "I'm sorry! I hadn't noticed that(your newspaper) (before you told me about it)." I wish not to be a hopeless student.

deepcosmosI would have to say, "I'm sorry! I hadn't noticed that(your newspaper) (before you told me about it)."

Perfect.

Of course you know that you don't say the parts in parentheses.

deepcosmosI wish not to be a hopeless student.

Your wish has been granted. Emotion: smile

CJ

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