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When I want to tell a story in English, I need to use the past tenses. First of all, I can use the simple past tense and start the story like this:

When I opened the door I had seen/saw a man on his knees....

The first sentence is very important because it intoduces so called time frame. Everything that had happened before opening the door will be in the past perfect tense, and everything that happened after opening the door will be in the simple past. (Am I right? I need you approval natives. )

So I can continue my story like this:

He had clearly been listening / clearly listened to our conversation and I had wondered / wondered how much he had heard / heard. When I had asked / asked him what he had been doing / was doing, he had said / said that he had dropped / dropped a 50p piece outside the door and had been looking / looked for it. I hadn’t seen / didn’t see any sign of the money, but I had found / found a small notebook and pencil which he probably had dropped / dropped when the door had opened / opened suddenly. So he had been taking / was taking notes of our conversation! The notes had been written / were written in a foreign language, so I had turned / turned to the stranger and had asked / asked him to translate. But he had pulled / pulled my hat over my eyes and had run / ran off down the corridor...

By following the logic explained above, I highlighted my choices. Once agian, everything that had happened before opening the door is in the past perfect, and everything that happened after opening the door is in the simple past. The above example story perfecty fits into this logic. But now comes my queston.

Are there any words that can reset the time frame?

Thanks,
Magixo
Comments  
Magixo,

I'm not sure that I understand your final question, but there are a few choices that I would change. I'm not sure if it is 'good' English, but I feel it makes it flow more smoothly.

He had clearly been listening / clearly listened to our conversation and I had wondered / wondered how much he had heard / heard. When I had asked / asked him what he had been doing / was doing, he had said / said that he had dropped / dropped a 50p piece outside the door and had been looking / looked / was looking for it. I hadn’t seen / didn’t see any sign of the money, but I had found / found / did find a small notebook and pencil which he probably had dropped / dropped when the door had opened / opened suddenly. So he had been taking / was taking notes of our conversation! The notes / they had been written / were written in a foreign language, so I had turned / turned to the stranger and had asked / asked / demanded him to translate. But he had pulled / pulled my hat over my eyes and had run / ran off down the corridor...

So you want to know if you can go back into present tense in your next paragraph or chapter? Of course you can! It's called a 'flashback'. One way would be something along the lines of "There I stood, recalling what had happened earlier that week." And then just continue the story using present tense verbs.

I hope this helped,

-Ruru
OprahruruMagixo,

I'm not sure that I understand your final question, but there are a few choices that I would change. I'm not sure if it is 'good' English, but I feel it makes it flow more smoothly.


He had clearly been listening / clearly listened to our conversation and I had wondered / wondered how much he had heard / heard.

When I had asked / asked him what he had been doing / was doing, he had said / said that he had dropped / dropped a 50p piece outside the door and had been looking / looked / was looking for it.


Well, both choices are possible in the above sentence.

I asked him: “What are you doing?” OR – changes to ‘what he was doing’

I asked him “What were you doing?” – changes to ‘what he had been doing’

I hadn’t seen / didn’t see any sign of the money, but I had found / found / did find a small notebook and pencil which he probably had dropped / dropped when the door had opened / opened suddenly.


Well, here I disagree with you. ‘had dropped’ is a right choice because he had dropped the notebook before I opened the door.

So he had been taking / was taking notes of our conversation!


Again, I disagree with you here. He had been taking notes before I opened the door.

The notes / they had been written / were written in a foreign language, so I had turned / turned to the stranger and had asked / asked / demanded him to translate.


Here again. When the notes had been written? They had been written before I opened the door.

But he had pulled / pulled my hat over my eyes and had run / ran off down the corridor...

So you want to know if you can go back into present tense in your next paragraph or chapter? Of course you can! It's called a 'flashback'. One way would be something along the lines of "There I stood, recalling what had happened earlier that week." And then just continue the story using present tense verbs.

I hope this helped,

-Ruru


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magixo
OprahruruMagixo,

I'm not sure that I understand your final question, but there are a few choices that I would change. I'm not sure if it is 'good' English, but I feel it makes it flow more smoothly.


He had clearly been listening / clearly listened to our conversation and I had wondered / wondered how much he had heard / heard.

When I had asked / asked him what he had been doing / was doing, he had said / said that he had dropped / dropped a 50p piece outside the door and had been looking / looked / was looking for it.



Well, both choices are possible in the above sentence.

I asked him: “What are you doing?” OR – changes to ‘what he was doing’

I asked him “What were you doing?” – changes to ‘what he had been doing’

I hadn’t seen / didn’t see any sign of the money, but I had found / found / did find a small notebook and pencil which he probably had dropped / dropped when the door had opened / opened suddenly.




Well, here I disagree with you. ‘had dropped’ is a right choice because he had dropped the notebook before I opened the door.

The reason why you can say 'dropped' instead of 'had dropped' is because you have already set up in previous sentences that tell us the events to follow have already happened. Adding 'had' in front of all of the actions makes for a very redundant read.

So he had been taking / was taking notes of our conversation!



Again, I disagree with you here. He had been taking notes before I opened the door.

Again, the previous sentence has already told the reader that you found the notebook after he had dropped it. 'was' implies that he is no longer taking notes, which is true because you now have the notebook so he cannot be taking anymore notes.

The notes / they had been written / were written in a foreign language, so I had turned / turned to the stranger and had asked / asked / demanded him to translate.



Here again. When the notes had been written? They had been written before I opened the door.
Here 'written' implies that the action has already happened. "They (the notes) were written in a foreign language, so I turned to the stranger and demanded him to translate" Again, the previous sentences imply that this has all taken place in the past so most of the 'had's are not needed.

But he had pulled / pulled my hat over my eyes and had run / ran off down the corridor...

So you want to know if you can go back into present tense in your next paragraph or chapter? Of course you can! It's called a 'flashback'. One way would be something along the lines of "There I stood, recalling what had happened earlier that week." And then just continue the story using present tense verbs.

I hope this helped,

-Ruru


Did I ever answer your final question? I'm still a bit confused by what you want from it.

-Ruru
Sorry I was away so I coudn't write back to you.

No, you have never answered my question. But with the above example I didn't have any serous problems. All the above sentences followed a simple logic:
1) Everything that had happend before opening the door should be in the past perfecet tense.
2) And everything that happend after the door opening should be in the simple past.

Furthermore, the explained logic is in accordance with the key from the smart Oxford book, so we should probably agree that the logic and the key make sense.

But now I come to a hard part and I need you assistance, please.
The end of the story:

By the time I (recover) from the shock he (disappear) round the corner. Curiously enough, when I (move) my foot I (find) that I (stand) on a 50p piece. Perhaps he (tell) the truth after all!
All of these embedded quote-filled posts confused me. Your original post was correct - the highlighted choices were correct.
magixoBy the time I (recover) from the shock he (disappear) round the corner. Curiously enough, when I (move) my foot I (find) that I (stand) on a 50p piece. Perhaps he (tell) the truth after all!
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recovered, had disappaeared, moved, found, had been standing, had been telling
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Yes, I would like to.

By the time I recovere from the shock, he had disappeared round the corner. Curiously enough, when I moved my foot I found that I had been standing on a 50 cents coin. Perhaps he had been telling / was telling the truth after all. (I am not sure about this last one.)

So the whole story goes like this:

When I opened the door I saw a man on his knees. He had clearly been listening to our conversation and I wondered how much he had heard. When I asked him what he had been doing, he said that he had dropped a 50p piece outside the door and had been looking for it. I didn’t see any sign of the money, but found a small notebook and pencil which he probably had dropped when the door opened suddenly. So he had been taking notes of our conversation! The notes had been written in a foreign language, so I turned to the stranger and asked him to translate. But he pulled my hat over my eyes and ran off down the corridor.

By the time recovered from the shock, he had disappeared round the corner. Curiously enough, when I moved my foot I found that I had been standing on a 50p piece. Perhaps he had been telling the truth after all!
Yes, you reset the time when you said "By the time..." That's the new reference point.
Hi. I kind of went through the posts written by both Oprahruru and Magixo and felt how Oprahruru made changes made more sense. I felt, eventhough I don't think I didn go over Oprahruru's post thoroughly, based on what I looked, I felt some of the past perfect tenses were redundant in light of the fact some pevious sentences had set the mark for the time sequence rather clearly (in my view).And I think it follows the basic pattern that I seem to see in novel writing.

Do you think a key (like the one Magixo indicated below) is the one we have look as the final authoritative source on this kind of grammar issue? I don't think I am an expert on grammar though.

Magixo wrote:

No, you have never answered my question. But with the above example I didn't have any serous problems. All the above sentences followed a simple logic:
1) Everything that had happend before opening the door should be in the past perfecet tense.
2) And everything that happend after the door opening should be in the simple past.

Furthermore, the explained logic is in accordance with the key from the smart Oxford book, so we should probably agree that the logic and the key make sense.
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