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mcurrent
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 8:48:41 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/6/2013
Posts: 128
Neurons: 2,311
Hi.
Can you help me understand what work "out" does?
The text is

Ashley and I smelled like the fires, which had burned out.

It's very important for me because there is past perfect in the sentence.
Thanks in advance.
NancyUK
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 9:56:39 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/15/2011
Posts: 678
Neurons: 41,320
Hi mcurrent

In my opinion, the word out is there to indicate that the fires have finished burning - they are out.

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance, Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance. Ogden Nash
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 3:11:49 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 26,242
Neurons: 139,836
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Yes - "to burn" means to be in flames.

"To burn out" means to stop burning.

A fire which has burned out has a very different smell from a fire which is burning.
A wood-fire burning can have a pleasant smell. A fire which has burned out usually smells pretty bad.

The past perfect is there because there are two past times mentioned.

1. The fires burned out (stopped burning) (This is the first, so uses the past perfect)
2. The fires, Ashley and I smelled. (this is a bit later, so uses simple past)


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
mcurrent
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 8:24:02 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/6/2013
Posts: 128
Neurons: 2,311
Your help is very important for me, thanks to you, NancyUK and DragOnspeaker.
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