Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 40

Thread: perfect

  1. #1
    Старший оракул
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On 19 June, 1980
    Posts
    980
    Rep Power
    10

    perfect

    Could you, please, explain me using "Perfect" tense in the following examples:

    1. When a car had slowed down and picked me up, I had been real happy
    2. that extraordinary interview with George last night necessiated rememberance. It had been so unexpected, so frightening. Wait - had it been so unexpected?

    (IMHO, All red had been in those examples I can change to simple "was", i.e. use "Past" tense. I just cant understand why the author used Perfect tense there...)

  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Texas, USA
    Posts
    198
    Rep Power
    9
    None of those sentances are at all correct. Least of all the parts with 'had been'.

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Serving Polonium-flavoured Sake at a London Japanese Restaurant
    Posts
    2,662
    Rep Power
    12
    Your second set of sentences is ok -- the first sentence is broken in a number of ways. You're right -- grammatically you can just subsitute "was", but it changes the meaning. If you say "had been" you're saying that AT THAT POINT OF TIME IN THE PAST, it had occurred to you that this interview was unexpected, etc. (So, basically, at 4 pm yesterday you thought this was interesting). If you say "was", then it means you are of that opinion NOW, AS YOU ARE WRITING/SAYING it.
    Заранее благодарю всех за исправление ошибок в моём русском.

  4. #4
    Почётный участник
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    125
    Rep Power
    10
    All those sentences sound very awkward. You're correct "was" can be used in place of "had been." In fact it is more natural and sounds better than "had been" with very little change in meaning.

    Why did the author use "had been"? To see how awkward it sounds to use "had been"?

  5. #5
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Serving Polonium-flavoured Sake at a London Japanese Restaurant
    Posts
    2,662
    Rep Power
    12
    Like I said, the second set of sentences is fine. I don't know why people think it sounds awkward -- it doesn't sound the least bit awkward to me (at least the portions using "had been" -- the first sentence there about the remembrence sounds wooden and stodgey). It just sounds very much like a narrative or someone's recollections...
    Заранее благодарю всех за исправление ошибок в моём русском.

  6. #6
    Старший оракул
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On 19 June, 1980
    Posts
    980
    Rep Power
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Бармалей
    the first sentence is broken in a number of ways.
    Why? Maybe, It must look like this: "When a car slowed down and picked me up, I had been real happy" (with the meaning that now I don't suppose I was really happy at that time) ???

  7. #7
    Властелин
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,284
    Rep Power
    0
    1. When a car had slowed down and picked me up,
    I am always told that if the subject of a sentence performs a number of actions in a row, I must use by no means perfect, but simple tense.
    Why here it is "had slowed" and not just "slowed down and picked me up"?

    And my english teacher told me also that if there is the question "when", it must be simple tense.

    For example: I called him yesterday and not I have called him yesterday.
    -- Да? Коту Ваське, бл##?
    -- Нет, Я кот Васька :-/

  8. #8
    Властелин
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Invalid City!
    Posts
    1,352
    Rep Power
    13
    They are both wrong.

    The only way 2. could theoretically be considered grammatically correct is if the second and third sentence don't refer to the first, but to something else in the wider context of the full text. I doubt that is the case, but it's possible.

    The use of 'real' as an adverb in the first sentence is a very American thing, so I'd say either the author was an illiterate seppo, or the character is supposed to be an illiterate seppo, or the person who translated it into English was taught English by an illiterate seppo

    1. When a car slowed down and picked me up, I was really happy.
    2. that extraordinary interview with George last night necessiated rememberance. It was so unexpected, so frightening. Wait -was it so unexpected?

  9. #9
    Старший оракул
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On 19 June, 1980
    Posts
    980
    Rep Power
    10
    thanks!!!
    (BTW, what does seppo mean ???)

  10. #10
    DDT
    DDT is offline
    Завсегдатай DDT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    I have given up the Gambling, the Wine and the Cows!.. I'm back now! ....nope Im gone again!
    Posts
    3,364
    Rep Power
    14
    Barfly is right! Those sentences sound normal, especially if this is from a novel or something. Perhaps the author was trying to add color to a character or something but I have heard plenty of people talk that way.
    The first one could be correct depending on context.
    PS A Seppo is a Yank!

    EDIT: I forgot to add....IMHO
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

  11. #11
    Старший оракул
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On 19 June, 1980
    Posts
    980
    Rep Power
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by DDT
    The first one could be correct depending on context.
    Could you provide context (for the first sentence to be correct), please....

  12. #12
    DDT
    DDT is offline
    Завсегдатай DDT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    I have given up the Gambling, the Wine and the Cows!.. I'm back now! ....nope Im gone again!
    Posts
    3,364
    Rep Power
    14
    For it to make sense the car slowing down to pick him up must not have anything to do with being happy. He would have to be referring to his state of happiness being at the time of the car slowing down but not connected to it and just giving reference to the car in order to give a time line. The inferrence is that he was not happy at a later time perhaps even at the time that he is making this statement.

    It could be someones way of stressing that they at one time had experienced happiness. But they are not happy now.
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

  13. #13
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Чапелхилловка, NC USA
    Posts
    1,987
    Rep Power
    16
    My girlfriend died in a planecrash yesterday. I have been thinking of her all day. I remember well the day we first met. I had been hitchhiking from New York to Santa Cruz, but so far had only made it to the Nevada desert. I was dying of thirst. My feet were killing me. I saw a car coming. It passed me by but then had stopped. When I had opened the door to get it I had been so happy that I scarcely noticed her.

    Well, not much of an author, I'm afraid. Maybe I should take a writing course. But that's the gist of "had been." Past action in a narrative of past actions. I think the pluperfect adds some psychological distance (versus the simple past) between the speaker and the events described.

  14. #14
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    3,216
    Rep Power
    13
    It passed me by but then had stopped. When I had opened the door to get it I had been so happy that I scarcely noticed her.
    I don't think the tenses sound right in this example. The past tense would be better.

  15. #15
    Властелин
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Invalid City!
    Posts
    1,352
    Rep Power
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    My girlfriend died in a planecrash yesterday. I have been thinking of her all day. I remember well the day we first met. I had been hitchhiking from New York to Santa Cruz, but so far had only made it to the Nevada desert. I was dying of thirst. My feet were killing me. I saw a car coming. It passed me by but then_stopped. When I_opened the door to get in I was so happy that I scarcely noticed her.

  16. #16
    Почтенный гражданин BabaYaga's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    610
    Rep Power
    10
    I agree that, in colloquial, spoken language, these sentences sound weird.
    As Бармалей (hello, Young Man - nice to see you around again ) says, they sound like a narrative, like literary language. And writers often wriggle around grammar for stylistic purposes.

    Consider the following context:

    When a car had slowed down and picked me up, I had been really happy. For a minute, two maybe. Just long enough for me to realize that the driver was an axe murderer. Fate can be cruel.

    See? It's possible. Maybe not grammatically correct, but possible.
    "had been" would then imply that it didn't last very long, and that it was most definitely over.
    (it should be "really" though....)

    And I have no problem whatsoever with the second sentence - again, it is something that is definitely over, that is so definitely finished that the character speaking is already reminiscing. And it sounds literary.

    Ой, голова у меня кружится |-P ...... and my brain hurts too....

  17. #17
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    612
    Rep Power
    11
    gosh, this post has made me realize just how much I still get confused around the Perfect tenses. And I thought I had it all sorted out already!!!

  18. #18
    awb
    awb is offline
    Увлечённый спикер
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    68
    Rep Power
    10
    "1. When a car had slowed down and picked me up, I had been real happy"

    sounds colloquial. something like "When a car had slowed down and picked me up -- now, I had been real happy before the car slowed down and picked me up -- but then..."

  19. #19
    Старший оракул
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On 19 June, 1980
    Posts
    980
    Rep Power
    10
    BTW, I got those sentences with "Perfect" from a book by Agatha Christie. She possibly liked using that tense

    Quote Originally Posted by BabaYaga

    See? It's possible. Maybe not grammatically correct, but possible.
    If I could see what you see...

  20. #20
    Почтенный гражданин BabaYaga's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    610
    Rep Power
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuvak
    BTW, I got those sentences with "Perfect" from a book by Agatha Christie. She possibly liked using that tense

    Quote Originally Posted by BabaYaga

    See? It's possible. Maybe not grammatically correct, but possible.
    If I could see what you see...
    Awww, Chuvak - you will!

    You know what - could you maybe post the context of this sentence? I mean, a couple of sentences before and after.... Maybe we'll be able to explain better why she used that tense here.
    For me, the use of "had been" here implies that something happened afterwards, that really finished off the character's happiness.

    "He had been happy" = "at that time he was happy, now he's not happy anymore"
    "He was happy" = "at that time he was happy, and maybe he's still happy now. Or maybe not. We don't know if it isn't specified elsewhere."
    Ой, голова у меня кружится |-P ...... and my brain hurts too....

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Well...My really perfect Russian L., I like Englisn))), I ha
    By svetlana_s in forum Penpals and Language Exchange
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: August 10th, 2010, 08:11 PM
  2. practice makes perfect
    By vos in forum German
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: April 18th, 2006, 12:13 AM
  3. A perfect website
    By SashaT in forum Getting Started with Russian
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: April 29th, 2005, 12:21 AM
  4. Practice makes perfect?
    By WizardPhish in forum Getting Started with Russian
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: October 13th, 2004, 08:02 AM
  5. present perfect again
    By Alexander in forum Learn English - Грамматика, переводы, словарный запас
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: March 24th, 2004, 11:46 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary