1. crocky
    Offline

    crocky New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    he had tried

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by crocky, Dec 21, 2010.

    I'm drawing a blank on the correct way to write this sentence:

    Last time he had tried to feed them...
    Last time he'd tried to feed them...
    Last time he tried to feed them...

    The final one I think is the easiest to say, but is this just an example of spoken language being tweaked to make it easier to say?

    Many thanks!
     
  2. FrankABlissett
    Offline

    FrankABlissett Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sault, Michigan
    All look correct to me. It'll depend on what diction feel right to you, what flows best with the prose before and after, and what is consistent with the rest of the work.

    -Frank
     
  3. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    These are past perfect tense.

    This is simple past tense.
    Whether you should use one or the other depends on the rest of the sentence (which you left out).

    You'd only use past perfect if you have several chronological events in a past narrative. Like this:

    "I had done my homework, so I decided to take a stroll."
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    10,081
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Ten internet cookies for HorusEye because his explanation is very correct and very astute.

    The trouble with common (or vulgar) English is that use of tense is very wishy washy and has a tendency to get collapsed into a simple tense use that requires massive auxiliary verbiage to explain it when there are, in fact, readily available syntax tools to express very subtle shades of meaning with a frugal use of words.

    @ HorusEye

    [​IMG]
     
  5. FrankABlissett
    Offline

    FrankABlissett Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sault, Michigan
    Ditto Wrey - nice post, Horus.

    -Frank
     
  6. SRCroft
    Offline

    SRCroft Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA

    Last time he tried to feed them... << I'd choose this normally if its not a flashback, theres no need for past perfect here.

    Extra Tidbit:
    Depending on the context, It is hard to tell from your sentence since it has (...)
    Last time might be separated by a comma as it is a time & place tag.
    e.g.
    Last time, he tried to feed them...
    Last time he tried to feed them, << Probably this one from how your sentence starts.
    Next, he
    As he crossed the bridge, he...
     
  7. crocky
    Offline

    crocky New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks so much everyone, very useful indeed!
     
  8. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i coulda sworn i posted this yesterday, but it's not here now... so here goes again...

    the only thing wrong with any of those three versions is the lack of a 'the' in front of 'last'!
     

Share This Page