The story is, as usual, in Past Indefinite. The events happened before the time of the main action should be in Past Perfect. But I was told that PP should not be overused in a single sentence: "He had remembered that from his childhood", but "He had learned that in his childhood and remembered all his life." But in this example we have only one subject with several predicates. What to do if we have more? E.g. " She remembered a girl from her class who, when they had been/were(?) nine years old, had(?) spread a rumor about herself that she had been/was(?) a sorceress."

Original Post
George Yury posted:

 E.g. " She remembered a girl from her class who, when they had been/were(?) nine years old, had(?) spread a rumor about herself that she had been/was(?) a sorceress."

Hi, George—The past perfect should not be used in the "when"-clause within the relative clause in that sentence, but it is fine to use the past perfect ("had spread") as the tense of the relative clause, since it clarifies that the spreading of the rumor was further back in the past than the remembering.

The appositive clause complementing the noun "rumor" may be treated as if it were a clause complementing "said." Backshift to the past perfect ("had been") if the girl claimed to have been a sorceress prior to the time of spreading the rumor. Don't use backshift if she claimed to be a sorceress.

Last edited by David, Moderator

The girl said: "I am a sorceress, and if anyone of you annoys me, her mother will die." So, the full sentence in indirect speech, describing the events from the past of the main character (who remembered them now), will be: "She remembered a girl from her class who, when they were nine years old, had spread a rumor about herself that she was a sorceress and any girl whom she would have a grouch on, would lose her own mother. " - is this correct?

And in a compound sentence, should Past Perfect be used in all clauses or only in the first one? The next phrase from the same paragraph: "For almost two months, the other girls had been fawning upon her, sharing breakfasts they'd(?) brought from home and even doing homework for her — although her words had been(?) supported by absolutely no proof. "

George Yury posted:

The girl said: "I am a sorceress, and if anyone of you annoys me, her mother will die." So, the full sentence in indirect speech, describing the events from the past of the main character (who remembered them now), will be: "She remembered a girl from her class who, when they were nine years old, had spread a rumor about herself that she was a sorceress and any girl whom she would have a grouch on, would lose her own mother. " - is this correct?

Where did you pick up the expression "have a grouch on"? Have you ever heard anyone say it? I haven't. I hadn't ever read it, either, until I searched for it just now. It appears that some people used it in the 1800s.

George Yury posted:

And in a compound sentence, should Past Perfect be used in all clauses or only in the first one? The next phrase from the same paragraph: "For almost two months, the other girls had been fawning upon her, sharing breakfasts they'd(?) brought from home and even doing homework for her — although her words had been(?) supported by absolutely no proof. "

There is nothing wrong with using the past perfect three times in a row there.

David, Moderator posted:

Where did you pick up the expression "have a grouch on"? Have you ever heard anyone say it? I haven't. I hadn't ever read it, either, until I searched for it just now. It appears that some people used it in the 1800s.

In a dictionary of course It was not marked as archaic there. What well-known analog would you recommend?

There is nothing wrong with using the past perfect three times in a row there.

Is it just "nothing wrong" or "the only right"? E.g. the last sentence of the same paragraph: "The suicide attempt hadn’t worked out for her either — she had gotten off with a broken leg, and only then the whole bad story [had become, became, or both possible?] known to the adults."

"

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×