1. molark
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    molark Member

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    Question on perfect tense

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by molark, Mar 11, 2013.

    Hello, I have the following sentences in a story I'm rewriting.

    Her dad had hit and punched him and had only stopped when her ma came out and threw herself over her son. Then dad had opened the trunk and thrown Bobby's stuff out into the streets.


    My questions deals with the perfect tense.

    1. Is it correct that 'had hit', the perfect 'had' also governs 'punched' - so that it's understood as 'had hit and had punched...'?

    2. The verbs in 'her ma came out and threw herself' are not perfect, but simply past and correct?

    3. Second sentence, if dad 'had opened', then it's understood in 'thrown' that he 'had thrown'?

    Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    way too many 'had's... you only need the first one:

    a problem needing to be addressed the relationships between these three... is bobby the one being hit?... is 'her dad' also the boy's dad?... you've left it all in a bit of a muddle... also, it's not clear that the boy is on the ground, for the mother to throw herself over... plus, there can only be one street right there... so, assuming they boy and girl are both children of 'ma' and 'her dad' i'd suggest this:

     
  3. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    "Her dad hit him" = preterite tense (also known as simple past)
    "Her dad has hit him" = perfect tense
    "Her dad had hit him" = pluperfect tense (also known as past perfect)

    The PLUperfect 'had' would cover both - works for me.
    Grammatically correct - simple past / preterite.

    Yes, perfectly understood.

    Personally, I would introduce Bobby's name as early as possible - depending somewhat on who's POV we're using here:

    "Dad had hit and punched Bobby. He only stopped when Ma came out and threw herself between them"...

    And "into the street" is fine ... or did he really go for a tour of a few different streets, scattering Bobby's stuff as he went?
     
  4. molark
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    molark Member

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    Thanks Maia and Iolair, very much! I've always admire the English for their more logical (to me) treatment of final quote signs and periods (placed outside!).

    I needed that grammatical breakdown in a bad way. Oftentimes I would introduce a paragraph with the pluperfect and then be confused as to if all the following paragraph's verbs - that refer to the same time period of action or description - should be that way. There will be future problems/confusion and I hope both you and others will continue to advise.
     

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