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"denies" vs. "denied" Options
Reiko07
Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 2:11:50 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/30/2018
Posts: 450
Neurons: 2,214
(1) Susan denies breaking the window.

(2) Susan denies having broken the window.

(3) Susan denied breaking the window.

(4) Susan denied having broken the window.


Question 1:

Are (1) and (2) both natural?

Question 2:

Do you think (3) is much more common than (4)?

I'm assuming (3) and (4) have the same meaning, but I'm guessing (4) sounds a little formal to native English speakers' ear. I'm not sure if (4) is better in formal writing.




My English is probably at CEFR A1 or A2 level.
Blodybeef
Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 4:27:41 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/15/2009
Posts: 699
Neurons: 495,016
Location: Ataşehir, Istanbul, Turkey
Reiko07 wrote:
(1) Susan denies breaking the window.

(2) Susan denies having broken the window.

(3) Susan denied breaking the window.

(4) Susan denied having broken the window.


Question 1:

Are (1) and (2) both natural?

Question 2:

Do you think (3) is much more common than (4)?

I'm assuming (3) and (4) have the same meaning, but I'm guessing (4) sounds a little formal to native English speakers' ear. I'm not sure if (4) is better in formal writing.




You may come across (1) in a legal document, maybe, a court record, or a news report on a court case.
She has denied it, and insists that it wasn't her who broke the window.

I don't think you'll come across (2).

(3) seems natural and you may come across this kind of reported speech on a Daily basis, esp. if you have small children in the house Anxious .

(4) would sound better if it were "Susan denied that she had broken the window."

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching." ― C.S. Lewis
BobShilling
Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 4:57:55 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/1/2018
Posts: 1,171
Neurons: 6,367
Location: Beroun, Stredocesky, Czech Republic
Reiko07 wrote:
[(1) Susan denies breaking the window.
(2) Susan denies having broken the window.
(3) Susan denied breaking the window.
(4) Susan denied having broken the window.


All four are correct, though of course the first two refer to a different time of the act of denying than the second 2.

#1 and #3 are more common than #2 and #4. We usually see no need for a perfect form when the sequence of events is clear. We can't normally deny something that we are actually doing so we assume that the situation being denied occurred before the denial.
Reiko07
Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 5:21:21 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/30/2018
Posts: 450
Neurons: 2,214
Thank you very much, Blodybeef and BobShilling.

My English is probably at CEFR A1 or A2 level.
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