Good morning, our teacherS,


From The General Secondary Education Certificate Examination of Egypt, 2018:

1. I worked hard all day round, but I had failed to ___________ my goals.

( find / follow / score / achieve )

Sure, "achieve" is the correct choice, but I wonder whether the sentence is MEANINGFULLY correct or not. Note the tenses sequence, i.e. Which action logically should happen first?

Shouldn't it be:

2. I HAD WORKED hard all day round, but I FAILED to achieve my goals.

Or

3. I HAD BEEN WORKING hard all day round, but I FAILED to achieve my goals.

Thanks.

 

 

Original Post

Hi, Hussein,

I agree that the sentence is strange as it is, and that using the past perfect in the first coordinate clause and the past simple in the second one would fix things.

As written, the sentence sounds as if the person was aware of having failed to achieve their goals but, even so, decided to continue working hard.

Thanks, Gustavo for your reply. Another question popped into my head:

with regard to the time indication "all day ROUND", I don't know whether it's an expression or a fixed phrase. I searched on the internet, but I couldn't find it with "day". Most of the dictionaries mentioned "all YEAR round". Even "Google Books Nagram Viewer" doesn't give any result.

If the question maker means "all day", why did he/she use it with the "past simple"?


Rachel on an earlier thread said, "all day, all morning, etc. use this especially when the day, morning, etc. has NOT FINISHED YET: We've been traveling around all week / I haven't seen her all day – where is she?"

https://thegrammarexchange.inf...l-day-vs-all-the-day


I'm so grateful for your help.

 

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husseinhassan posted:

Another question popped into my head:

with regard to the time indication "all day ROUND", I don't know whether it's an expression or a fixed phrase. I searched on the internet, but I couldn't find it with "day".

Hi, Hussein: The normal, native expression is not "all day round"; it's "the whole day round." If you search for that phrase, you will reap a nice harvest of results.

husseinhassan posted:
If the question maker means "all day", why did he/she use it with the "past simple"?


Rachel on an earlier thread said, "all day, all morning, etc. use this especially when the day, morning, etc. has NOT FINISHED YET: We've been traveling around all week / I haven't seen her all day – where is she?"

I agree with Gustavo's answer. I'd also like to mention that it is perfectly fine to use the past simple in both clauses, to omit the repeated subject from the second clause, and to use "all day." You do not have to use "all the day" instead of "all day" if the period of time is completed. "All day" is correct in both cases. Native speakers rarely say "all the day" these days; it sounds old-fashioned. When we use "the" in this context, we generally say "the whole day" instead of "all the day," though both phrases are fine.

1a. I worked hard all day but failed to achieve my goals.

1b. I had worked hard all day but failed to achieve my goals.

1c. I worked hard the whole day but failed to achieve my goals.

1d. I had worked the whole day but failed to achieve my goals.

1e. Although I had worked hard the whole day, I failed to achieve my goals.

The past perfect is most advisable in the "although"-clause of the last example.

husseinhassan posted:

Thanks a lot, David. I noticed that you didn't use the past perfect continuous. Is it wrong or NOT advisable to be used in such a context?

Hello again, Hussein: The continuous doesn't work well there. The second clause of the sentence speaks of the (lack of) results of the entire period of time spoken of in the first clause, so there is no reason to focus on the middle part of the activity in the first clause by using the progressive. That said, it is not incorrect to use the progressive. If you must, you may.

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