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are the tenses correct in this sentence? Options
yummyspringroll
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 12:39:10 AM

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When I left home this morning she was in front of my house waiting for me. Just the day before when I had been taking out my trash as I had left for work I had run into her about to leave as well and she had offered me a ride. She then said "Why don't we go together everyday?" I didn't really give a reply; I enjoyed my solitary walk everyday to my office. It seemed to me that she said that only to be polite anyway. But even with my vague response she risked being late for work and waited for me today. Did she have a crush on me?

I read somewhere that when we're entering flashback in a fiction we use past perfect in the beginning, then we can use simple past for the rest of the flashback period. So, based on that, is the above sentence correct?


It'd be great if you could review the above sentence. Please let me know if there's any mistake other than the tenses too.
Thank you very much~
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 11:29:28 AM

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yummyspringroll wrote:
When I left home this morning she was in front of my house waiting for me. Just the day before when I had been taking out my trash as I had left for work, I had run ran into her about to leave as well, and she had offered me a ride. She then said "Why don't we go together everyday?" I didn't really give a reply; I enjoyed my solitary walk everyday to my office. It seemed to me that she said that only to be polite anyway. But even with my vague response she risked being late for work and waited for me today. Did she have a crush on me?

I read somewhere that when we're entering flashback in a fiction we use past perfect in the beginning, then we can use simple past for the rest of the flashback period. So, based on that, is the above sentence correct?
Not quite, since you didn't use simple past in a couple of places.

It'd be great if you could review the above sentence. Please let me know if there's any mistake other than the tenses too.
Thank you very much~

Perhaps it's just me, but I thought the phrase, "I ran into her about to leave as well" sounded a bit awkward. I would change it to read, "I ran into her as she was leaving also, and she..."
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 6:56:45 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,066
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Yes - I can see why (grammatically) it would seem correct to use a string of past perfect clauses. However, that sentence sounds very awkward.

Just the day before when I had been taking out my trash as I had left for work I had run into her about to leave as well and she had offered me a ride.

You could omit a verb or two - you actually have five major verbs in one sentence with no punctuation, which is not a good idea normally.

Just the day before, when I had been taking out my trash on my way to work, I had run into her leaving as well and she had offered me a ride.


I agree that the time-adverbial clause (which I surrounded by commas) can be used to "set the tense" for the whole sentence.

Just the day before, when I had been taking out my trash on my way to work, I ran into her leaving as well and she offered me a ride.

yummyspringroll
Posted: Saturday, April 11, 2020 8:42:47 PM

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Posts: 60
Neurons: 29,852
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Yes - I can see why (grammatically) it would seem correct to use a string of past perfect clauses. However, that sentence sounds very awkward.

Just the day before when I had been taking out my trash as I had left for work I had run into her about to leave as well and she had offered me a ride.

You could omit a verb or two - you actually have five major verbs in one sentence with no punctuation, which is not a good idea normally.

Just the day before, when I had been taking out my trash on my way to work, I had run into her leaving as well and she had offered me a ride.


I agree that the time-adverbial clause (which I surrounded by commas) can be used to "set the tense" for the whole sentence.

Just the day before, when I had been taking out my trash on my way to work, I ran into her leaving as well and she offered me a ride.



Thanks for the explanation, it really helps.

Instead of a time-adverbial clause, can a main clause "set the tense"? Please consider this passage below. What do you think? Is it also awkward?

Now, I’d been in a work situation where everyone seemed to treat me too kindly too, and it felt as if they were expecting something from me in return (whether it was true or not, I never know). It was suffocating and it went on for more than a year. I was totally frustrated. But years later, another job put me in a situation where people treated me like dirt and when I looked back, the former situation now seemed like a blessing that I had taken for granted. And I’m ashamed of myself who hadn’t been able to return people’s kindness to me equally that time.

Another thing, this sentence: (whether it was true or not, I never know), I meant it to imply that I didn't knew back then and I still don't know now and I don't think I will ever know in the future.
So is the sentence correct? Or should it be: (whether it was true or not, I never knew or I'll never know)
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2020 11:32:40 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 13,887
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Wow. I'm amazed you found your way back to this after nearly three years. You've been thinking about this a long time...(I'm joking)

yummyspringroll wrote:
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Yes - I can see why (grammatically) it would seem correct to use a string of past perfect clauses. However, that sentence sounds very awkward.

Just the day before when I had been taking out my trash as I had left for work I had run into her about to leave as well and she had offered me a ride.

You could omit a verb or two - you actually have five major verbs in one sentence with no punctuation, which is not a good idea normally.

Just the day before, when I had been taking out my trash on my way to work, I had run into her leaving as well and she had offered me a ride.


I agree that the time-adverbial clause (which I surrounded by commas) can be used to "set the tense" for the whole sentence.

Just the day before, when I had been taking out my trash on my way to work, I ran into her leaving as well and she offered me a ride.



Thanks for the explanation, it really helps.

Instead of a time-adverbial clause, can a main clause "set the tense"? Please consider this passage below. What do you think? Is it also awkward?

It could, but your time frame shifts too much in this paragraph, and that makes it awkward. It appears that you want to tell the story from the point of view (p.o.v., or pov)of the second job, which is now in the past. So you have three different perspectives. Telling the story now, today, your perspective on the second job, and your experience on the first job.

Since your perspective is the pov from the second job, you have to keep that pov and tense.

Also, notice I did a strike through on the word "too". This use implies you are agreeing with someone as having the same experience. If that's not true, it should be omitted, but if it is true, then I think using "also", as I did, works better.


Years ago, I'd also been in a work situation where everyone seemed to treat me too kindly too, and it felt as if they were expecting something from me in return (whether it was true or not, I will never know). It was suffocating and it went on for more than a year. I was totally frustrated. But years later, when another job put me in a situation where people treated me like dirt, and I looked back at the former situation, it seemed like a blessing that I had taken for granted. And I was ashamed of myself for being unable to equally (moved here) return people’s kindness to me at that time.

Another thing, this sentence: (whether it was true or not, I never know), I meant it to imply that I didn't knew back then and I still don't know now and I don't think I will ever know in the future.
So is the sentence correct? Or should it be: (whether it was true or not, I never knew or I'll never know)

Using "I never knew" restricts it to that time frame. Using "I'll never know" covers all time, both the past and future.
yummyspringroll
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2020 9:14:38 AM

Rank: Member

Joined: 9/25/2016
Posts: 60
Neurons: 29,852
FounDit wrote:
Wow. I'm amazed you found your way back to this after nearly three years. You've been thinking about this a long time...(I'm joking)

It could, but your time frame shifts too much in this paragraph, and that makes it awkward. It appears that you want to tell the story from the point of view (p.o.v., or pov)of the second job, which is now in the past. So you have three different perspectives. Telling the story now, today, your perspective on the second job, and your experience on the first job.

Since your perspective is the pov from the second job, you have to keep that pov and tense.

Also, notice I did a strike through on the word "too". This use implies you are agreeing with someone as having the same experience. If that's not true, it should be omitted, but if it is true, then I think using "also", as I did, works better.


Years ago, I'd also been in a work situation where everyone seemed to treat me too kindly too, and it felt as if they were expecting something from me in return (whether it was true or not, I will never know). It was suffocating and it went on for more than a year. I was totally frustrated. But years later, when another job put me in a situation where people treated me like dirt, and I looked back at the former situation, it seemed like a blessing that I had taken for granted. And I was ashamed of myself for being unable to equally (moved here) return people’s kindness to me at that time.

Another thing, this sentence: (whether it was true or not, I never know), I meant it to imply that I didn't knew back then and I still don't know now and I don't think I will ever know in the future.
So is the sentence correct? Or should it be: (whether it was true or not, I never knew or I'll never know)

Using "I never knew" restricts it to that time frame. Using "I'll never know" covers all time, both the past and future.[/quote]


Why, thank you sooooo much for the explanation, FounDit! It really helps~! Pray
Well, you're right, I'm still thinking about it. Years of learning English and I still can't wrap my head around Tenses. Brick wall My mother tongue has no tenses and everyone understand each other perfectly without needing to change any verb, to-be, etc. every time. It's an otherworldly concept to me. Plus I'm a very slow learner :(
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