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I had been in Italian love since years [Present Perfect, Past Perfect tense] Options
A cooperator
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 3:37:22 PM

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Hi,

I would like anyone to confirm for me whether I can say
I had been in Italian love since years.
Or
I had in Italian love since years.


Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
papo_308
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 4:05:06 PM
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The sentences do not make much sense to me as they stand.

"years" is a time period, the preposition "for" must be used, not "since".

This would make sense to me:

I have been in love with an Italian girl for years.

or

I had been in love with an Italian girl for years before I came back to Yemen.

A cooperator
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 4:11:50 PM

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pap_308 wrote:
The sentences do not make much sense to me as they stand.

"years" is a time period, the preposition "for" must be used, not "since".


I am quite sure about hearing this sentence."I had in Italian love since years" But I said to myself that 'since' is never used in past tense, so it should have been written in past perfect tense"
So, do you think that hearing for movies won't help me to improve my language. Because I really have been advised that movies will help.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
papo_308
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 4:49:04 PM
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It could have been "I've had an Italian love since years [ago]".
This would make sense. Maybe the "ago" was left out in casual conversation.

Surely listening to anything will help. But it's very difficult (at least for me) to understand
(or rather to hear what they are actually saying) if they speak fast and colloquially, not to speak about slang.
Briton
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 5:47:56 PM

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Papo is right, coop. "I had in Italian love since years" makes no sense to an English speaker.

It can only be "an Italian love" (a person). It may have sounded like "in" when spoken quickly in the movie, but it is the wrong preposition. "In" means "into" or "inside".

It is also wrong to say "since years", and it would be unusual to hear it unless in very casual conversation.
Maybe the person was unable to remember how long he'd loved this lady (or vice-versa) and said, "I've had an Italian love(r) since...years." (not being able to quote an exact date).

Watching movies is a useful aid in learning the ways that English is spoken, but movies are not necessarily the best place to look for good grammar.
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2012 12:31:35 AM

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Briton wrote:

Watching movies is a useful aid in learning the ways that English is spoken, but movies are not necessarily the best place to look for good grammar.


This is especially true of American films. An audience goes to the theater expecting to be entertained by a contrived fantasy. Even though this was in fact recorded by a camera, the actors and actresses read from a script and respond to each other according to the wishes of the director, not necessarily according to natural language or behavior.

In my opinion, a much better guide to spoken English would be a talk show where people are having conversations with each other that are not prepared or scripted—although someone promoting their latest book or film will certainly have a statement of some sort prepared. This is a good way to see how people interact, and the different responses to different phrases. It is also a good way to hear a variety of accents and vocabularies, and how they work together—or sometimes how they don't.



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
A cooperator
Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2012 3:11:53 PM

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leonAzul wrote:
Briton wrote:

Watching movies is a useful aid in learning the ways that English is spoken, but movies are not necessarily the best place to look for good grammar.


This is especially true of American films. An audience goes to the theater expecting to be entertained by a contrived fantasy. Even though this was in fact recorded by a camera, the actors and actresses read from a script and respond to each other according to the wishes of the director, not necessarily according to natural language or behavior.



Thank you all of you very much indeed,
I have been taught that 'since' and 'for' are never used in past tense; however, they can be used in perfect and perfect progressive. Am I right?

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2012 6:46:38 PM

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A cooperator wrote:
leonAzul wrote:
Briton wrote:

Watching movies is a useful aid in learning the ways that English is spoken, but movies are not necessarily the best place to look for good grammar.


This is especially true of American films. An audience goes to the theater expecting to be entertained by a contrived fantasy. Even though this was in fact recorded by a camera, the actors and actresses read from a script and respond to each other according to the wishes of the director, not necessarily according to natural language or behavior.



Thank you all of you very much indeed,
I have been taught that 'since' and 'for' are never used in past tense; however, they can be used in perfect and perfect progressive. Am I right?


There is more to it than that.

Originally, the word "since" could only be used correctly with the past tense. When used in that sense it means "from that moment in the past."

"Since you went away, I still haven't found someone who has your expertise."

"Since" can also be a synonym for "because."

"Since you are going away, I will need to find someone to replace you temporarily."

When I first began to learn English, I was taught that this second meaning for "since" was colloquial and not formally correct. Since then, I understand it has become more generally acceptable. I would still caution you to use it carefully because it can be easily misunderstood.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, April 24, 2017 8:54:16 PM

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papo_308 wrote:
It could have been "I've had an Italian love since years [ago]".
This would make sense. Maybe the "ago" was left out in casual conversation.

Surely listening to anything will help. But it's very difficult (at least for me) to understand
(or rather to hear what they are actually saying) if they speak fast and colloquially, not to speak about slang.




Thanks a lot, Papo_308, you're right about "Surely listening to anything will help. But it's very difficult to understand"

I really had to record part of the movie while watching it, and this is the link of the audio file uploaded into my Dropbox account.

And yes, it has been as you said "I'd had an Arab love for years"

I, myself, barely understood movie while they were talking.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, April 24, 2017 9:03:43 PM

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leonAzul wrote:
Briton wrote:

Watching movies is a useful aid in learning the ways that English is spoken, but movies are not necessarily the best place to look for good grammar.


This is especially true of American films. An audience goes to the theater expecting to be entertained by a contrived fantasy. Even though this was in fact recorded by a camera, the actors and actresses read from a script and respond to each other according to the wishes of the director, not necessarily according to natural language or behavior.

In my opinion, a much better guide to spoken English would be a talk show where people are having conversations with each other that are not prepared or scripted—although someone promoting their latest book or film will certainly have a statement of some sort prepared. This is a good way to see how people interact, and the different responses to different phrases. It is also a good way to hear a variety of accents and vocabularies, and how they work together—or sometimes how they don't.



Thanks a lot, LenonAzul,
Yes, you're absolutely right, but a talk show would be very difficult to be found for one living in an environment where English is not widely spoken.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, April 24, 2017 9:23:04 PM

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I don't want to open a new thread as long as the question raised would be in the same topic in discuss.

I am like zero in grammar, but I am trying to develop myself in this skill.
I really came across many persons who are like zero in grammar, but they've pretty much always written grammatically correct.
I really always care of analysing any sentence coming across me to know what grammar term name is, and how it is used.

I know that we should use a "present perfect tense' in a typical use like "past action with some present connection', for example,
I have worked with children before, so I know what to expect.

On the other hand, we should use a "past perfect tense" in a typical use like "action before a particular past time, for instance,
I couldn't get in because I had lost my keys.

However, in these two sentences below, I am a little bit confused about which is the better to be used, a present perfect tense, or past perfect tense.
Truly, selecting a suitable tense would be very difficult, in particular if the words which could only be used correctly with a tense are missed(not present) in a sentence.

But if I've tried working it out, then I'll think that past perfect must be used in both sentences since in the first sentence, the speaker had a love story or any relationships in other countries. However, in Yemen, he hadn't had any. So, there is no action before a particular past time. As a result, "I had never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen" should be the correct one.

"I have never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen."
"I had never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen."

In the second sentence, the past perfect tense must be used since the speaker had a love in the past, but he hadn't had it anymore.

"I've had an Arab love for years."
"I'd had an Arab love for years."






Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 4:16:26 AM

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Your first note is correct:
". . . we should use a "past perfect tense" in a typical use like "action before a particular past time, for instance, 'I couldn't get in because I had lost my keys.'"

The past time was when he couldn't get in.
The action before that was 'lost the keys'.

In the negative later example "I have never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen"
the time is now, here, in Yemen. There is no past time.
The past perfect is used for the first "time period" of two past times.

If your example was "I (had/have) never had a love story or any relationships before I came to Yemen",
the past time would be 'when I came to Yemen'.
The action (or inaction) before that was 'never had any relationships' so you WOULD use the past perfect.

"I had never had a love story or any relationships before I came to Yemen."

*************
It is the same for the positive one.
"I've had an Arab love for years."
He is talking about ONE time period - the last several years up to NOW. He still has the relationship.

If you want to say that the relationship is ended, you have to say that - the past perfect will not do that. However, you would use the past perfect.
"I'd had an Arab love for years up to 2015, when we argued and split up."

The fixed past time is '2015, when we argued and split up'.
The action before that was 'had an Arab love for years'.

***
You can sometimes have the 'fixed past time' or 'second past action' in a separate earlier sentence:
"I split up with my girlfriend in 2015. We had had a love affair for years."
But the second sentence cannot be in the past perfect without the first sentence.



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
A cooperator
Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017 6:21:44 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Your first note is correct:
". . . we should use a "past perfect tense" in a typical use like "action before a particular past time, for instance, 'I couldn't get in because I had lost my keys.'"

The past time was when he couldn't get in.
The action before that was 'lost the keys'.

In the negative later example "I have never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen"
the time is now, here, in Yemen. There is no past time.
The past perfect is used for the first "time period" of two past times.


Thanks a lot, Drag0nspeaker,

Yes, but my example was
"I had never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen."
It didn't have a particular past time, which would be difficult to deiced whether to use past perfect tense or another tense, such as present perfect tense. The most difficult thing would be when facing like this example of mine, where there is no "particular past time". So, the typical use "action before a particular past time" for using past perfect tense is not applied.

In the negative later example, there is no particular past time
"I had never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen"

In the positive later exsmple, there is no particular past time.

Had you ever heard about Magoosh TOEFL Superfan group before joining group.

Secondly: I was just wondering why we said "I had never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen" and not "I have never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen"

Finally:
On the other hand, you did neither comment on when to use the present perfect tense, nor reply if my note [I know that we should use a "present perfect tense' in a typical use like "past action with some present connection, for example, I have worked with children before, so I know what to expect. ] is correct or not.

I want to know the complete difference between present perfect tense and past perfect tense to be able to use them.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017 6:31:46 AM

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Hi, could anyone please try to hear the audio file uploaded into my Dropbox account whose link was posted before?


Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
tunaafi
Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017 6:52:31 AM

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A cooperator wrote:

Yes, but my example didn't have a particular past time, which would be difficult to deiced whether to use past perfect tense or another tense, such as present perfect tense. The most difficult thing would be when facing like this example of mine, where there is no "particular past time". So, typical use "action before a particular past time" is not applied.

A native speaker who uses a past perfect with no explicit later past time almost certainly has such a time in mind. That's the reason for using a past perfect!
tunaafi
Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017 6:56:11 AM

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A cooperator wrote:
Hi, could anyone please try to hear the audio file

It sounds to me like "I had an Arab lover for years".
A cooperator
Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017 8:37:37 AM

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tunaafi wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
Hi, could anyone please try to hear the audio file

It sounds to me like "I had an Arab lover for years".


Thanks a lot, Tunaafi
Have you listened to the audio file?
If so, could you please write the subtitle/ closed caption to the entire audio file? I really found it very hard to understand it.
Finally: why do you think it was it not said as follows:
I've had an Arab lover for years.
Or
I'd had an Arab lover for years.

Moreover, I think "years" is a time period, the preposition "for" must be used, not "since". As a result, a present perfect or past perfect must be used since "for" or "since" are used with either.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017 8:50:32 AM

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I've tried, and can't get dropbox at all from this computer (I can't even get in my OWN dropbox!)

However, while I was doing something else, tunaafi has listened to it and said what he hears.

*************
In general, the perfect is used for something which happened at an unspecified time or times before NOW, and viewed from the present time looking back.
It can mean "many times a long time ago" or "once a long time ago" or "continually recently, but just completed" or "continually recently, and still continuing".
Different types of verbs (stative, punctual, dynamic and so on) are usually used in different ways.

When the perfect is used, more importance is placed on the current (now) state than on the past action.

These two articles have some good data: ENGLISH PAGE and Education First

There are often 'clues' in the same sentence or within the same paragraph, but the use of the perfect tense often means that it doesn't matter when it happened - just that it has been done at some time, and that is the current state of things.
"I've had my breakfast" - it might be four hours ago or two minutes ago. The important thing is that I am not starving now.
"I've studied French and Latin" - It was forty years ago, but that is not mentioned. The perfect gives the important data, that I NOW know some French and Latin.

**********
The past perfect is used in a similar way, for something which happened at an unspecified time or times - but its time is relative to some other time in the past (which is often mentioned specifically as another action).

There have to be three time-periods in mind, but they don't all have to be specified in concrete words - they can be 'assumed', 'understood', 'mentioned in an earlier sentence', or even 'mentioned later' sometimes. Often "present time" is just 'understood'.

1. The earlier time of the action which is 'perfect'
2. The time when that action is viewed.
3. Present time.

"I had just eaten my dinner when the doorbell rang."
1. "Eating my dinner" is the earlier time, and uses the past perfect.
2. "The doorbell ringing" is the later time
3. "now" is 'understood'.

A more 'complex' one, from a story. "I heard an intruder in the house.
It was sometime last year, near the beginning of winter, with the trees looking bare and the wind howling around the chimneys. There was nothing to steal in the house worth stealing.
Now that I look, I had been nervous and on edge all day.
"
1. "Being nervous" is the earlier state, which uses the past perfect.
2. The later time which that is related to is "heard an intruder" at the beginning of the paragraph.
3. "Now" is the time from which I am looking at both of those events.

**********
The normal 'past tense' places more importance on the past action than on the later results of the action.

"I studied French." - this concentrates more on the action of studying.
"I have studied French." - this has more stress on the fact that I am now in a state of knowing some French.
"I had studied French." - this has more stress on the fact that I was, at some time in the past, in a state of knowing some French. The 'time in the past' must be mentioned somewhere in the text OR be very well-known to both the writer and the reader.

************
"I had an Arab lover for years" - this is simple past, and the stress is on the relationship as it occurred in the past, and on the fact that it has now ended.

"I've had an Arab lover for years" - perfect. With stative verbs like 'have', the implication is often "has been continuous and is expected to continue more", unless other data is given.
So it tends to mean "I have had a relationship with an Arab woman (for me, it would mean a woman) for several years and it is still continuing.

"I'd had an Arab lover for years" - With stative verbs like 'have', the implication is often "was continuous up to a certain point and then ended".
At some point in the text, the ending-point would have already been mentioned.

***************
"For" can be used with any tense.
I had a dog for five years when I was a teenager.
I've had a dog for five years now, but he's getting old.
I'd had a dog for five years when my mother brought home a cat.
Next year, I will have had my dog for five years.


"Since" is more limited - it is usually restricted to the perfect and past perfect.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
A cooperator
Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017 9:11:53 PM

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tunaafi wrote:
A cooperator wrote:

Yes, but my example didn't have a particular past time, which would be difficult to deiced whether to use past perfect tense or another tense, such as present perfect tense. The most difficult thing would be when facing like this example of mine, where there is no "particular past time". So, typical use "action before a particular past time" is not applied.

A native speaker who uses a past perfect with no explicit later past time almost certainly has such a time in mind. That's the reason for using a past perfect!



Thank you both of you, Tunaafi, and Drag0nspeaker.

But a non-native English speaker would be faced with a problem selecting a past perfect tense or another one as long as the typical use "action before a particular past time" for using past perfect tense is not present.


In the negative later example, there is no particular past time
"I had never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen"

In the positive later example, there is no particular past time.

Had you heard about Magoosh before joining this community?
No, I had never heard of Magoosh before joining.


Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
tunaafi
Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 3:49:46 AM

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A cooperator wrote:


Thanks a lot, Tunaafi
Have you listened to the audio file?

Yes. I reported what I heard.


Quote:
Finally: why do you think it was it not said as follows:
I've had an Arab lover for years.


The present perfect would be correct, if the speaker still had an Arab lover. However, I detected no trace of a /v/ sound.


Quote:
Or
I'd had an Arab lover for years.


I detected no trace of a /d/ sound, and there is no context to suggest that a past perfect would be appropriate.


Quote:

Moreover, I think "years" is a time period, the preposition "for" must be used, not "since". As a result, a present perfect or past perfect must be used since "for" or "since" are used with either.

'For' + time period can be used with any tense. A perfect aspect is appropriate only if the duration up to a later time point is important:

I worked in China from January to August 2002.
I worked there for eight months.
(from a to b)

When I left China, I had worked there for eight months.
(up to b)
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 3:50:11 AM

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The particular past "point in time" is not always in the same sentence, and is not always a full finite verb-form or date/time.

Often it is shown by 'before being . . .' or 'before doing . . .'.

You are right, the sentence: "I had never had a love story or any relationships here in Yemen" does not show the second action. It could be in another sentence somewhere before or after that.

Example.
"I met my fiancee last year.
I was at college in Sana'a, studying maths and working towards my doctorate . . . (another two paragraphs, describing life at the university)
I'd never had a relationship here in Yemen."


The first action (using the past perfect) is "not having a relationship"
The later action, the 'past point in time' is "met my fiancee".

Example.
"I'd never had a relationship here in Yemen.
I was always too busy studying and working to support myself. Those were mad days . . . (description of life in college).
Then I met my fiancee."


The first action (using the past perfect) is "not having a relationship"
The later action, the 'past point in time' is "met my fiancee".

******************
Had you heard about Magoosh before joining this community?
No, I had never heard of Magoosh before joining.


In the question, the earlier (possible) action is 'hear about Magoosh'.
In the answer, the first action is 'not hearing about Magoosh'.
In both, the later action (and later point in time) is 'joining the community'.

*************
It is actually easier and more obvious when you are in a conversation (rather than 'clinically' making up examples).

If you feel you are viewing the past from NOW, then the tense will be the perfect.

If you feel you are looking at some past time (a point or period) and viewing what happened before that, then you would use the past perfect.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
A cooperator
Posted: Saturday, April 29, 2017 4:48:30 AM

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tunaafi wrote:
A cooperator wrote:


Thanks a lot, Tunaafi
Have you listened to the audio file?

Yes. I reported what I heard.


Thanks a lot, Tunaafi

As Dragonspeaker couldn't get Dropbox at all from that computer of his(He couldn't even get in his OWN Dropbox!), could you please write the subtitle/ closed caption of the entire audio file you heard? The audio file size is too far small to be heard completely and get its subtitles written. I really found it very hard to understand it.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Saturday, April 29, 2017 5:04:09 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
I've tried, and can't get dropbox at all from this computer (I can't even get in my OWN dropbox!)

However, while I was doing something else, tunaafi has listened to it and said what he hears.


Thanks a lot, Drag0speaker,

I really have been faced with a problem understanding the speakers' most talk. So, I was planning to upload the entire recorded audio file into my Dropbox account to be reviewed by you, and help me get the subtitles/closed captions?

The entire movie video file size is about 700MB. However, when I will be converting the video format ".avi" to an audio format,such as an ".mp3", the file size would be much smaller than 700MB?



Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 12:13:39 PM

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May I ask you, Tunaafi or Drag0speaker if I have uploaded the entire recorded audio file into my Dropbox account to be reviewed by you, and help me get the subtitles/closed captions when you get some free time, it will be OK?
I don't need it to be reviewed at one time, but you could be doing a part of it whenever you have a free time.



I really have been faced with a problem understanding the speakers' most talk when they talk relatively quickly.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 12:35:42 PM

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It suits me!

When I am at work, I am away from home all the day (I am in my house for only eight hours a day, when I am asleep). That is when I cannot contact dropbox. I have a lot of time when I am at the factory but not 'working', but I cannot get dropbox there.

When I'm not at work, I can contact dropbox and can download an audio file - then I can listen to it again and again later.

I don't know about the sizes, but I'm sure an MP3 soundtrack will be much smaller than the equivalent avi video . . .



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, May 22, 2017 3:56:51 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
It suits me!

When I am at work, I am away from home all the day (I am in my house for only eight hours a day, when I am asleep). That is when I cannot contact dropbox. I have a lot of time when I am at the factory but not 'working', but I cannot get dropbox there.

When I'm not at work, I can contact dropbox and can download an audio file - then I can listen to it again and again later.

I don't know about the sizes, but I'm sure an MP3 soundtrack will be much smaller than the equivalent avi video . . .



Thanks a lot, Drag0nspeaker,

It would be OK if I have uploaded the recorded audio file into one of Sync file-hosting services, such as my OneDrive, GoogleDrive, etc., or any other Non-Sync file-hosting services, such as Mediafire, Rapidshare, 2Shared, 4Shared, etc?

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 12:51:44 AM

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I really don't know - I've never tried such things.

I know that youtube, Facebook and dropbox are blocked.

I've sent you a PM which may help on this.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
A cooperator
Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 12:45:52 AM

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tunaafi wrote:

Moreover, I think "years" is a time period, the preposition "for" must be used, not "since". As a result, a present perfect or past perfect must be used since "for" or "since" are used with either.

'For' + time period can be used with any tense. A perfect aspect is appropriate only if the duration up to a later time point is important:

I worked in China from January to August 2002.
I worked there for eight months.
(from a to b)

When I left China, I had worked there for eight months.
(up to b)
[/quote]

Thanks a lot, tunaafi. I am really still confused with selecting the correct tense. Selecting the correct tense would be by far the most difficult thing for me. I've been really struggling with control over such a thing.

I know that we should use a "present perfect tense' in a typical use like "past action with some present connection', for example,
I have worked with children before, so I know what to expect.

On the other hand, we should use a "past perfect tense" in a typical use like "action before a particular past time, for instance,
I couldn't get in because I had lost my keys.
The past time was when he couldn't get in.
The action before that was 'lost the keys'.

*********
However, in your example below:
When I left China, I had worked there for eight months.
I think that:-
The past time was "I had worked there for eight months. (up to b)"
The action before that was "when I left China."

However, it should have been the opposite:-
The past time was "when I left China."
The action before that was "I had worked there for eight months. (up to b)"



Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 1:26:50 AM

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tunaafi wrote:
A cooperator wrote:

Yes, but my example didn't have a particular past time, which would be difficult to deiced whether to use past perfect tense or another tense, such as present perfect tense. The most difficult thing would be when facing like this example of mine, where there is no "particular past time". So, typical use "action before a particular past time" is not applied.

A native speaker who uses a past perfect with no explicit later past time almost certainly has such a time in mind. That's the reason for using a past perfect!



As tunaafi said "A native speaker who uses a past perfect with no explicit later past time almost certainly has such a time in mind. That's the reason for using a past perfect!" - which would be by far the most difficult thing for me.

It would be a little bit easy to know whether 'present perfect' or 'past perfect' must be used:
I can use "present perfect tense" in a typical use like "past action with some present connection', for example, "I have worked with children before, so I know what to expect.".
I can use a past perfect tense" in a typical use like "action before a particular past time, for instance, "I couldn't get in because I had lost my keys.".

However, as long as there is no explicit later particular past time, nor some later present connection, how to know if a present perfect or past perfect must be used? For instance, [The original sentences quoted from Magoosh TOEFL Prep website are marked in a blue colour. However, all others are mine.]

1- How long have you known Yasmeen?/ How long had you known Yasmeen?

2- if you have taken the test before, score must be between 0 and 120/ if you had taken the test before, score must be between 0 and 120. ------("before" is used here after the present perfect)

3- Had you heard about Magoosh before joining this community?
No, I had never heard of Magoosh before joining.
---- ("before" is used here after the past perfect)

4- Have you heard about Magoosh before joining this community?
No, I have never heard of Magoosh before joining. ---- ("before" is used here after the present perfect)


5- Have you watched a Magoosh YouTube video?/Had you watched a Magoosh YouTube video? (Yes, No)

6- How did you hear about Magoosh?/How have you heard about Magoosh?/ How had you heard about Magoosh?

7- How long ago did you first hear about Magoosh?/How long ago have you first heard about Magoosh?/How long ago had you first heard about Magoosh?

8- How long did you first hear about Magoosh?/How long have you first heard about Magoosh?/How long had you first heard about Magoosh?

******
P.S. this is my own statement using the past simple, present perfect, and past perfect tenses. I would like you kindly to check it to know how understood I am.
You mentioned 'yours of style unmasked your identity', although you hadn't yet known earlier information about me. So, what does 'yours' refer to? I think 'yours' should refer to something stated earlier. I have NOT stated anything earlier which was expressed about someone's style you had known before.


Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
tunaafi
Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 2:12:43 AM

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A cooperator wrote:
However, as long as there is no explicit later particular past time, nor some later present connection, how to know if a present perfect or past perfect must be used? For instance,


You, the speaker, know which points/periods in time you have in mind.
A cooperator
Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 2:27:17 AM

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tunaafi wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
However, as long as there is no explicit later particular past time, nor some later present connection, how to know if a present perfect or past perfect must be used? For instance,


You, the speaker, know which points/periods in time you have in mind.



Thank you so much indeed, tanaafi
Yes, but sometimes it is not me who will be writing the sentences. However, I'll be the listener, reader. So, I still don't get why someone says a sentence in the present perfect, and another one says the same sentence in the past perfect.

Moreover, I am respectfully requesting you or anyone else at this splendid forum to take some of your precious time out to go back to my eight sentences posted lately in my previous post, and check if correct tenses had been used or not. [Bear in mind that all the original sentences quoted from Magoosh TOEFL Prep website are marked in a blue colour.]

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leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 6:00:34 AM

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A cooperator wrote:

Yes, but sometimes it is not me who will be writing the sentences. However, I'll be the listener, reader. So, I still don't get why someone says a sentence in the present perfect, and another one says the same sentence in the past perfect.


Another person will choose the tense according to the meaning.

Your examples above show an excellent understanding of how the different times and aspects work together. What you need to feel more comfortable with is that, unlike other languages, English does not use them absolutely, but rather relatively.

The default perspective is the literal immediate past expressed as the grammatical present tense. Without further context, introducing the past perfect is a clue that the speaker intends to refer either to something that preceded a past event or condition in time, or is perhaps setting up a subjunctive-conditional relationship, that is to say, a potential result from a possible cause.


So, to answer your question, it really depends on what the speaker/writer intends to say, and that could also depend on whether that person has given much thought to where the statement is going!



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 6:56:03 AM

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A cooperator wrote:


1- How long have you known Yasmeen?/ How long had you known Yasmeen?

Both are grammatically correct. The second clarifies the idea that you are interested in the time before an event that has not been stated in this sentence.
A cooperator wrote:

2- if you have taken the test before, score must be between 0 and 120/ if you had taken the test before, score must be between 0 and 120. ------("before" is used here after the present perfect)

There are bits and bobs missing from these. The quoted sentence is acceptable informally, but the second clause of it should start "the score needs to be". Your example doesn't work well because the word "if" immediately sets up the expectation that what looks like "past" means "subjunctive" and it ought to be followed by a conditional expression such as, "the score would be," although "the score must have been" also makes sense.
A cooperator wrote:

3- Had you heard about Magoosh before joining this community?
No, I had never heard of Magoosh before joining.
---- ("before" is used here after the past perfect)

As you observe, these clearly express the idea of something that had taken place before something else took place in the past. The grammatical perfection expresses a relative precedence in time, not an absolute location on a time line.
A cooperator wrote:

4- Have you heard about Magoosh before joining this community?
No, I have never heard of Magoosh before joining. ---- ("before" is used here after the present perfect)

As I noted above, the default reference is to now (within the recent literal past). The colloquial way to say this would be "Did you hear about," and "No, I didn't hear about…"

It would be clearer to use the past perfect, and for your purposes that would be a better response on a proficiency exam.
A cooperator wrote:

5- Have you watched a Magoosh YouTube video?/Had you watched a Magoosh YouTube video? (Yes, No)

This is the same as the first pair. The correct choice will depend on context.
A cooperator wrote:

6- How did you hear about Magoosh?/How have you heard about Magoosh?/ How had you heard about Magoosh?

Your suggested questions are grammatically possible, but not very useful or practical, unless you want to know about multiple ways someone has heard about Magoosh.
A cooperator wrote:

7- How long ago did you first hear about Magoosh?/How long ago have you first heard about Magoosh?/How long ago had you first heard about Magoosh?

This is the correct way to elicit the response "It was five years ago when I first heard about Magoosh," but it would sound more natural to me to ask "When did you first hear?" Once again, grammatical perfection does not make sense without a temporal consequent.
A cooperator wrote:

8- How long did you first hear about Magoosh?/How long have you first heard about Magoosh?/How long had you first heard about Magoosh?

This, unfortunately, is the inverse of 7-.

The phrase "how long" literally asks about a length of time, and unless you were dealing with a very loquacious recruiter, that wouldn't haven't taken much longer than the time it takes to say the word itself. None of these makes much sense.



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
A cooperator
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 12:01:08 AM

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leonAzul wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
leonAzul wrote:
Briton wrote:

Watching movies is a useful aid in learning the ways that English is spoken, but movies are not necessarily the best place to look for good grammar.


This is especially true of American films. An audience goes to the theater expecting to be entertained by a contrived fantasy. Even though this was in fact recorded by a camera, the actors and actresses read from a script and respond to each other according to the wishes of the director, not necessarily according to natural language or behavior.



Thank you all of you very much indeed,
I have been taught that 'since' and 'for' are never used in past tense; however, they can be used in perfect and perfect progressive. Am I right?


There is more to it than that.

Originally, the word "since" could only be used correctly with the past tense. When used in that sense it means "from that moment in the past."

"Since you went away, I still haven't found someone who has your expertise."

"Since" can also be a synonym for "because."

"Since you are going away, I will need to find someone to replace you temporarily."

When I first began to learn English, I was taught that this second meaning for "since" was colloquial and not formally correct. Since then, I understand it has become more generally acceptable. I would still caution you to use it carefully because it can be easily misunderstood.


Thank you so much indeed, LeonAzul,
However, I am now confused a little about whether 'Since' is used correctly with the past tense, or with present perfect as well.
This Email message was sent to my Email address from a TradePub.com user.
"Hi,XXX
This is Alex, I just tried reaching you, it has been a while since we have connected. As a follow-up to my voicemail, I recommend you check-out this exclusive free offer:"

However, while chatting with a 22-years old Yemeni man, he wrote this"I guess it has been a year since I chatted with him."

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Audiendus
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 7:54:47 AM
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When "since" is used in the time sense (not the "because" sense), the 'since' clause (dependent clause) should be in the past tense, and the main clause should be in the perfect or perfect progressive tense:

It has been a while since we connected.
It has been a year since I chatted with him.
Since they quarrelled, they have not spoken to each other.
Since we discussed the matter, I have been thinking about it further.

If you used the perfect tense in the 'since' clause in the last two examples, "since" would mean "because".
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