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  1. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Past perfect again

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Thundair, Nov 7, 2019.

    I received a review from a reader who complained about the SPAG (Is there no end?) and the sentence was:
    I shouldn’t worry about what someone else had. ...He thought it should be... what someone else has.
    This is in the narrative third person past tense. What say you?
     
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    Need the whole sentence please. The following one would help as well.
     
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  3. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Here you go.

    Then I caught my reflection in the little mirror and became almost entranced by my own image. I decided I didn’t look all that old. Although my breasts were not as big as Yahima’s, still they were well formed and just as youthful. As I turned sideways to examine myself further, I heard someone outside, so I ducked below the window and finished dressing. I chastised myself. I shouldn’t worry about what someone else had.

    I sat myself on the edge of the bed and waited to see who was making all the noise outside my room. It was René who had come to my lodging to escort me to the Knowles’ house.
     
  4. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    This isn't past perfect. It's simple past tense.

    Had is fine. It sounds more natural. Furthermore, the speaker doesn't know if Yahima still has those breasts or not. They might have deflated since the last time she saw her. Therefore, the last available information is in the past tense.

    Now, if Yahima was standing there waving them in her face, it would be different. In that case, you would want the present continuous.

    "Has" would sound more natural in speech.
    "Don't worry about what Yahima has," said Renée.
     
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  5. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks
     
  6. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Besides which, in this context, "had" is past tense of "to have," meaning "to possess." With past perfect, "had" would be an auxiliary (helping) verb that goes to construct the PP tense. E.g., "shouldn't worry about what someone else had done."

    Your unfortunate reader is overthinking things. He's mixing tenses, and making you tense in return.
     
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  7. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks for the encouragement. I’m probably the one over thinking things as I don’t have the confidence to recognize how wrong the critiques have been. I truly don’t think he read the novel as he called my MC Beth, but her name was Beth only in the first chapter. It’s frustrating to get a bad review and not be able to respond to it. I guess if I can mature a little I will get over it and trust my work is as good as I can make it.
     
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  8. Tralala

    Tralala Active Member

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    I think what he might have meant was that the person still has the things that are envied.

    Had suggests they've been lost.

    Don't let it bother you. It's a nice piece of writing!
     
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  9. Tralala

    Tralala Active Member

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    That's a good tense joke, Catrin :superlaugh:
     
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  10. Tralala

    Tralala Active Member

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    It's hard, getting any kind of criticism. It can really ruin a day. You'll bounce back. Probably by tomorrow. He can get stuffed! You can say it to us, if you want to :friend:
     
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  11. BillyxRansom

    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    clearly it's "had"
     
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