I have a wonderful exchange language exchange partner. She is a woman from England. I sent to her a message that she never received. After learning that, I wrote back to her another e-mail relating what I had written.

I wrote:
I told you that I finally succeeded to make the pancakes.

Her correction:
I told you that I HAVE FINALLY SUCCEEDED to make the pancakes.

I would like to know the difference between what I wrote and the correction.

P.S. Thank you for the answers on my previous posts and thank you in advance for the coming answers. The answer for “Contrary-to-Fact Conditional” came pretty fast.

I would say it differently.

To me, the corrected version in your post where the past event (have finally succeeded) is combined with the "to make" seems odd. But it might just be me.

Here's how I would do it.

1) I told you that I finally succeeded in making pancakes.


2) I told you that I have finally succeeded in making pancakes.

These are both very similar, just differ slightly in their tenses.

3) I have finished painting a picture. (that's how I would say it)

4) I have finished to paint a picture. (nope, don't like it)

Also, "the pancakes"...should just be pancakes. Unless it is THE PANCAKES, you know the ones with the imported Maple Syrup from Canada. It is those special pancakes. Otherwise, it is just pancakes.

Hope that helps.


MountainHiker is quite correct in saying that you would use "the pancakes" if you were referring to some specific pancakes. If your conversation had been focused on trying to make pancakes according to some recipe you were trying out, let's say, then you are talking about "the pancakes" which you were attempting to make. If, on the other hand, you were just trying to make 'any old' pancakes, for example, if you had never made any pancakes before, and you wanted simply to accomplish some pancake making, then you are talking about "making pancakes".

Also, the verb "succeed" connects to another verb with "in" and the gerundive (-ing) form of that verb: to succeed in making, to succeed in solving, to succeed in accomplishing, etc.
Another similar structure involves the adjective "interested": to be interested in doing, to be interested in finding, etc.

Personally, I would not have used "I have finally succeeded". You are simply recounting a second time what you said in an earlier communication. My preference is for "I told you that I had finally succeeded in making (the) pancakes", because in the first e-mail you probably said (with "I'm telling you" implied): "I have finally succeeded in making (the) pancakes."

Hope that helps.Emotion: smile