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Usage of the past perfect subjunctive

The following is an excerpt from the CNN News on line of April 15 about the burned-down Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. My question is why the past perfect subjunctive is used in “ workers would have disassembled the frame ” and “ it would have been reassembled ” despite the fact that the preceding and following parts are the simple past forms: the carpenters first built the frame … and the beams extended toward the heavens … The prevailing Gothic style called for high vaulted ceilings. To...Read More...
Hi, Fujibei, I'm not sure why you're describing "would have [past participle]" as the "past perfect subjunctive." It doesn't even contain the past perfect, let alone the subjunctive. I suspect you're confusing "would have [past participle]" here with the use of that structure in type 3 (past counterfactual) conditionals, in which the past perfect is used in the "if"-clause. The meaning here is not counterfactual. "Would have [past participle]" is used to indicate that an inference is being...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Must have

In the sentences " you must have held the money continuously for 28 days" and " You must have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks" "must have +verb-ed" appears to mean something completely different from "he must have been ill/must have seen many countries etc, however, I know of no grammar textbook which deals with this difference in meaning. My guess is that 'you must have held the money and you must have worked ' mean that we expect/require that you have held the money/worked...Read More...
Hi, Katze, Yes, your interpretation is correct. Here's another way you can paraphrase it: It must be the case that you have held the money continuously for (at least) 28 days. "Must" has deontic meaning here; it is not the epistemic use of "must," which you were already familiar with. The good news is that you understood the sentence even though you hadn't read about that use of must in a grammar book.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

just as I played the guitar

a. As I played the guitar, he played the piano. b. Just as I played the guitar, he played the piano. c. He played the piano as I played the guitar. d. He played the piano just as I played the guitar. e. He played the piano as I played the guitar. f. He played the piano just as I played the guitar. Which of the above correspond to which of the below: 1. He played the piano while I played the guitar. 2. He played the piano and I played the guitar. 3. He played the piano because I played the...Read More...
Thanks for the revision, Azz. In that case: (e) --> (1) as an afterthought, (3), and (4) as a very strained afterthought (f) --> (2)Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

conditionals

Which is correct: 1) Even if her husband wasn't at the scene of the crime, you should interrogate him as soon as possible. 2) Even if her husband hadn't been at the scene of the crime, you should interrogate him as soon as possible. The idea is that we don't know whether he was at the scene of the crime or not, but you should interrogate him anyway. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi, In that context, only (1) is correct. I don't think I'd use (2) in any context. If reworded slightly, however, (2) could work in a context in which we knew that her husband was at the scene of the crime and wanted to say that he would need to be interrogated ASAP even if he hadn't been at the scene of the crime: 2a) Even if her husband hadn't been at the scene of the crime, you would still need to interrogate him as soon as possible.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Exhausted

I was exhausted at the end of the exam. I ........ about 12 pages . ( had been writing - had written ) .Read More...
Very good, Hussein. I agree with you completely. The (normal) past perfect is needed in that sentence . If, instead of a quantity of pages, a length of time were given, the past-perfect progressive would work: I was exhausted at the end of the exam. I had been writing for over an hour. The past-perfect progressive in Egyptian2017's example would suggest that speaker had NOT written 12 pages. The sentence may be compared to this: " I was exhausted. I had been running a marathon, but only made...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Unusual Past perfect/past simple relations?

The following sentence was taken from the Cambridge "Quiz your English" app (a screenshot is attached): Is that another example of past perfect for an event that finished after another event in the past simple? if so, how can I explain that unusual sentence? Thanks, YanivRead More...
Hi, Yaniv, I think it is easier to analyze the use of the past perfect there as being analogous to the use of the present perfect in a future-oriented sentence like: By the time it has stopped raining, it will be too late to go to the beach. In each case, at the imagined time , both the statement "It has stopped raining" and the statement "It is too late to go to the beach" were or will be true. Thanks for providing the screenshot. The simple past is also an option in your example ("By the...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

like carefree dancing

Can one say a. I like carefree dancing. instead of b. I like to dance in a carefree manner. ? Can one say c. I hate careless driving. instead of d. I hate to drive carelessly. ? Doesn't (c) mean I hate 'careless driving' in general, no matter who's doing it? Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz, To me, the infinitive forms a unit with the verb of liking, so in (b) and (d) it is clear that the speaker likes or hates to do those things him/herself. The gerund preceded by an adjective in (a) and (c) functions as a noun and creates a sense of detachment: the speaker likes or hates those activities, regardless of who carries them out. However, with other gerunds the speaker's involvement in the action may become more evident, as in: e. I like open water swimming. f. I hate open...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

generic you in the object of a verb in the past tense

Hi! I was wondering whether generic you (used for people in general) can appear as the object of a verb in the past tense. I got this question when I was reading this article: What's your favorite place that you've played so far? "It wasn't in the United States, it was actually over in Japan when I played there in 2016. I loved playing in the city of Sapporo. The people there — the culture was pretty unique, and they embraced you."...Read More...
I understand, thank you so much Gustavo!Read More...
Last Reply By yasukotta · First Unread Post

Phrase Heads & Licence Complements - Reference Book

In the book "Oxford Modern English Grammar", 5.1.2 - Complements in Phrases it states: "He wasn't particularly fond of Bax" "The Head of this AdjP is the adjective fond which licences the PP..." Essentially I'm trying to determine what complements are licensed by a phrase head for other words. Many thanks, PhilipRead More...
The simplest one, thus far, is the "Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary", pg 545, listing Fond as: "fond adj. 1 (foll. by of)...Read More...
Last Reply By Philip · First Unread Post

booklet, pamphlet, brochure, leaflet

Could you help me please? I'm really confused about how to differentiate between : booklet, pamphlet, brochure, leaflet. I have looked them in many dictionaries as well as collocations dictionaries but in vain. For example, I cannot choose the correct word in the following sentence: I have a (booklet, pamphlet, brochure, leaflet) for the exam. It contains a few pages. Thank you.Read More...
Possibly the term you're looking for is 'test paper'. I have a test paper for the exam. It contains a few pages. ~ ~ ~ Example sentences below are from > https://eng.ichacha.net/zaoju/test%20paper.html The Entrance Test Paper will have 175 Objective Type Questions with Multiple Choice Answers. In exams, test papers are university entrance questions. ~ ~ ~ Definitions are from > https://www.thefreedictionary.com/test+paper test paper Also found in: Thesaurus , Medical , Legal ,...Read More...
Last Reply By Erudite_Birdy · First Unread Post

Past Cont vs Past Perfect Cont,

Someone next door ................... heavy metal music all night long. I didn’t get a wink of sleep. a) was playing b) has played c)had been playing d) has been playing I think that 'c' is the answer but 'a' is also possible. From one of the mock exams in Egypt.Read More...
Ahmed_btm (and to this day I still have no idea what "btm" means) wrote: My dear friend Ahmed, I believe you meant to write " whom we miss on this forum", and for what it's worth, the name is DocV, not DOCV. There still appear to be formatting issues that are beyond David's control, or mine. I apologize to you, sir, and to my dear friend David, and to Gustavo, and to certain other members. Tara certainly comes to mind. There are others. I say to you all, I beg your pardon. Some of you might...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

My way or the highway

Is the sentence/phrase "(it´s) my way or the highway" some kind of expression? What does it mean? Where does it originally come from? Thanks! Gisele São Paulo BrazilRead More...
It may have become popular from 1975 onward due to this song. Song: My Way or Hit the Highway Artist: Jill 'Baby' Love Label: Black Magic ‎– BM 116 Format: Vinyl , 7", 45 RPM, Single Country: UK Released: 1975 Youtube Video > My Way or Hit the Highway, by Jill 'Baby' Love > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shedRHSLNNM Youtube Video > My Way, by Limp Bizkit, uses this same phrase and this song was released in 2000 _* Note* Song has vastly different lyrics than the one above > ...Read More...
Last Reply By Erudite_Birdy · First Unread Post

will or going to

Hi, teachers. I'd like to know your opinion concerning sentences like this one. He studies hard. He "will pass _ is going to pass" . He doesn't study. He "won't pass _ isn't going to pass" . I found many references supporting " will ". Longman's editor, Edmond Murphy and other websites. However, I had some argument with some people arguing for " be going to ", while others choose "both options". So, could you kindly tell me what to choose?Read More...
@Hussein Hassan , thanks a million.Read More...
Last Reply By ayman · First Unread Post

seems like (as if)?

Hello! 1. He seems to be happy. 2. It seems that he is happy. (formal style) 3. It seems like ( as if ) he is happy. (informal style) In sentence 2 and 3, I assume that; 1) the conjunctions - ' that ' and ' like ', ' as if' in informal style - lead not a subject complement but a real subject clause (that is, impersonal subject + complete intransitive verb + real subject clause). 2) ' seems ' is justified to function as an complete intransitive verb , which leads a real subject clause.Read More...

Is it wrong to omit the conjunction "and"?

Last week, I made up three sentences for my non-native English speaking friends to comment on. I have written them below. (1a) This is an interesting, exciting story. (2a) He is a reliable, dedicated employee. (3a) The couple has a happy, healthy relationship. My friends said the sentences sound wrong without the conjunction. So, they revised them to make the sentences below. (1b) This is an interesting and exciting story. (2b) He is a reliable and dedicated employee. (3b) The couple has a...Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, Yes, all six sentences are perfectly correct. Moreover, the sentences your friends said sound wrong sound perfectly fine.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

... (he) suffered from many ....

I have made up a sentence below. (1a) He was weak and throughout his adult life suffered from many illnesses. My friends think I need "he" after "life". (1b) He was weak and throughout his adult life he suffered from many illnesses. Do I need "he" there? Thanks a lot.Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, Both (1a) and (1b) are correct. You can add "he" after "life" or not. It's your choice. The sentence is correct either way. Sentence (1a) has one independent clause, and (1b) has two. Sentence (1a) is the following sentence with the "throughout"-phrase re-positioned: (1a') He was weak and suffered from many illnesses throughout his adult life. As you can see, "throughout his adult life" is adverbial modifying the verb phrase "suffered from many illnesses." It modifies that verb...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Whose

Hi everyone First of all happy easter to everyone Are those sentences correct? I have a friend whose car we need. Or I have a friend whose car we are in need of. Thanks.Read More...
Hello, Hs12. Welcome to the Grammar Exchange and Happy Easter! Generally, "those" refers to things that come before. It would have been better to say, "Are these sentences correct?," because you are talking about sentences that you are about to mention. The example sentences you have written are very strange, but they are grammatically correct. What context do you have in mind for them? Here are more natural sentences: I have a friend whose car needs gas. I have a friend whose car is in need...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

The All Other

ahmad
Hello, everyone, 1. The all inclusive system soon gave way to a new one. 2. All other systems soon gave way to the new one. 3. The all other systems soon gave way to the new one. I hope (1) and (2) are fine. I think (3) is incorrect. Can someone help me understand what makes (1) different from (3) ? Thanks. PS to David: God willing, I will soon return to the other open thread. I need to do a little reading there.Read More...
Hi, Gustavo, I see my folly now. Thanks a lot.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

of the same size or the same size

Hello there I'd like to know if it's correct to say : 1. The two products are of the same size. 2. The two products are the same size. 3. The two products have the same size. 4. The two products are of different sizes. 5. The two products are in different sizes. 6. The two products have different sizes. Thanks a lot. Happy Easter :DRead More...
Thanks a lot David and GustavoRead More...
Last Reply By taiman · First Unread Post

so did he

a. As his father played tennis, so did he. b. Just as his father played tennis, so did he. Do these mean 1. His father played tennis and so did he . 2. He played tennis in the same way his father played tennis. 3. He played tennis because his father did. 4. He played tennis at the same time as his father did. Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz, Sentence (a) can mean (2), (3), or (4). It is context that will make the difference. Sentence (b) can mean (1). For meaning (2), however, you could say: (2b) He played tennis just as his father did.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

what has happened vs happened

A: Oh, You have some bruises on your face. _____? B: Richard hit me. 1) What has happened 2) What happened Which one is better?Read More...
I agree that Swan's advice there provides no justification for using the present perfect in the answer to the quiz question you have presented. The speaker comments on the bruises. That something has happened which caused the bruises is part of the context. The speaker is wondering what happened .Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

phrasal verbs with fall

Hello all. Can you give me some examples to illustrate the difference between fall down and fall through? Can "a plan falls down" as in the sentence below: All his plans to start his own business fell down (1) Is it better if I replace "fell down" with "fell through"? I am quite puzzled because they have almost the same meaning in some dictionaries. Among its three meanings given, fall down has a meaning as "to fail" as in - Where do you think the plan falls down? (2) As for fall through, it...Read More...
Hello, Quangco123, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! Phrasal verbs don't need to be mutually exclusive. In fact, some of them are similar in meaning and can be used in the same sentences. Let's compare some examples with "fall down" and "fall through" from the Corpus: - Technically he is excellent but you have noticed that he is falling down on the supervisory aspects of his job. - The attorney general is supposed to act only when the law enforcement is falling down or broken down in a...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Than whom

Hi guys. Is it correct to say : I have a friend than whom my father speaks English better as in : I have a friend who speaks English My father speaks English better than my friendRead More...
Hello, HS12, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! Your sentence: is totally ungrammatical. "than" needs to appear after the adjective in comparative degree. If you want to use a relative, you can choose one of these: - I have a friend whose English is not as good as my father's. - I have a friend who doesn't speak English as well as my father (does).Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post
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