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05 May 2013, 03:37
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Why there is a need of "had had" (Past Perfect) when the sentence uses "Before".

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09 May 2013, 05:08
Anyone??????????
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11 May 2013, 21:47
First of all, what is the source of this sentence? Any additonal would be helpful.

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11 May 2013, 23:27
KyleWiddison wrote:
First of all, what is the source of this sentence? Any additonal would be helpful.

KW

Sir,

Aristotle SC -Grail (2011)

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12 May 2013, 01:22
Correct form of the sentence would be: Tim had several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car.

When there are two past events, we can use following two strategies to indicate the order of events:
1) use of past perfect to indicate earlier event and simple past to indicate later event
2) use of the relational word (e.g., before, after, earlier, later, etc.)

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12 May 2013, 05:42
Sentence correction never really was my strong point but still this one quite stumped me.. Grammatically 'had had' seems redundant but when we say it, because 'decided' is in the past tense, 'had had' sounds better...
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12 May 2013, 06:24
They had had enough savings and they paid for the mortgage without any penalty.
If I had had another five minutes, I would have finished the examination paper.

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13 May 2013, 20:06
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Well this is a fun one

The past perfect is used to show the EARLIER of two past events. This one is a bit tricky because the use of the word 'before', which essentially provides the same function as the past perfect.

It appears that the 'had had' may be overkill with the inclusion of 'before', but let's look closely at the difference in meaning between one and two 'hads':

1) Tim had several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car.

In the first sentence, we get the sense that at the time Tim bought his sports car he was in possession of several passenger cars. In the second sentence, we have a slightly different impression - Tim had owned several passenger cars (but was done owning them) by the time he bought the sports car.

So, even with 'before' in the sentence, we can see that the past perfect is helpful to show that the prior action was over by the time the later action takes place.

KW
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13 May 2013, 20:15
KyleWiddison wrote:
Well this is a fun one

The past perfect is used to show the EARLIER of two past events. This one is a bit tricky because the use of the word 'before', which essentially provides the same function as the past perfect.

It appears that the 'had had' may be overkill with the inclusion of 'before', but let's look closely at the difference in meaning between one and two 'hads':

1) Tim had several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car.

In the first sentence, we get the sense that at the time Tim bought his sports car he was in possession of several passenger cars. In the second sentence, we have a slightly different impression - Tim had owned several passenger cars (but was done owning them) by the time he bought the sports car.

So, even with 'before' in the sentence, we can see that the past perfect is helpful to show that the prior action was over by the time the later action takes place.

KW

In the first sentence, we get the sense that at the time Tim bought his sports car he was in possession of several passenger cars. In the second sentence, we have a slightly different impression - Tim had owned several passenger cars (but was done owning them) by the time he bought the sports car.

Sir,

In the above reasoning don't you think you are confusing BEFORE with WHILE.Because your reasoning of sentence -1 is meaningful with use of WHILE and not BEFORE.

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13 May 2013, 20:54
KyleWiddison wrote:
Well this is a fun one

The past perfect is used to show the EARLIER of two past events. This one is a bit tricky because the use of the word 'before', which essentially provides the same function as the past perfect.

It appears that the 'had had' may be overkill with the inclusion of 'before', but let's look closely at the difference in meaning between one and two 'hads':

1) Tim had several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car.

In the first sentence, we get the sense that at the time Tim bought his sports car he was in possession of several passenger cars. In the second sentence, we have a slightly different impression - Tim had owned several passenger cars (but was done owning them) by the time he bought the sports car.

So, even with 'before' in the sentence, we can see that the past perfect is helpful to show that the prior action was over by the time the later action takes place.

KW

Please refer to the following 2 reconstructions the first sentence -- here I replaced "had" with "in possession with":

a) Tim was in possession of several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car. This sentence makes clear that the possession was before the decision was made. This sentence would mean the same as the following two sentences.
-- ii) Tim had several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car.

b) Tim was in possession of several passenger cars while he decided to buy a sports car. This sentence does not make clear that the possession was before the decision was made.

I am not sure if there is anything wrong in my understanding.
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18 May 2013, 07:35
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targetgmatchotu wrote:

1) Tim had several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car.

In the first sentence, we get the sense that at the time Tim bought his sports car he was in possession of several passenger cars. In the second sentence, we have a slightly different impression - Tim had owned several passenger cars (but was done owning them) by the time he bought the sports car.

Sir,

In the above reasoning don't you think you are confusing BEFORE with WHILE.Because your reasoning of sentence -1 is meaningful with use of WHILE and not BEFORE.

Rgds,
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I like your thought about changing the word BEFORE, but since we are dealing with a transaction we should probably contrast BEFORE with WHEN instead of WHILE (WHILE would be more appropriate for something with a longer duration. You are correct that if we change BEFORE to WHEN the sentence becomes clear in that Tim was in possession of the cars at the time he purchased the sports car. So, if the sentence was using WHEN in combination with a single 'had' there would be no confusion around the meaning. When we use the word BEFORE, the meaning becomes somewhat ambiguous because we can interpret the sentence to mean that he was in possession of the passenger cars when he bought the sports car or he might have gotten rid of them already. The way to eliminate the ambiguity completely with the word BEFORE is to use 'had had'.

Here is another example to illustrate how 'had had' clarifies meaning with the word BEFORE:
I had two hot dogs before my fries were delivered.
[We might reasonably assume that I had eaten the two hot dogs before I got my fries, but we could also interpret this statement to mean that I had two hot dogs on my plate and I was waiting for the fries before eating anything.]
[Here the meaning is clear. I was done with my hot dogs before the fries showed up (and I probably wasn't too happy)]

KW
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18 May 2013, 09:47
KyleWiddison wrote:
targetgmatchotu wrote:

1) Tim had several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car.

In the first sentence, we get the sense that at the time Tim bought his sports car he was in possession of several passenger cars. In the second sentence, we have a slightly different impression - Tim had owned several passenger cars (but was done owning them) by the time he bought the sports car.

Sir,

In the above reasoning don't you think you are confusing BEFORE with WHILE.Because your reasoning of sentence -1 is meaningful with use of WHILE and not BEFORE.

Rgds,
TGC

I like your thought about changing the word BEFORE, but since we are dealing with a transaction we should probably contrast BEFORE with WHEN instead of WHILE (WHILE would be more appropriate for something with a longer duration. You are correct that if we change BEFORE to WHEN the sentence becomes clear in that Tim was in possession of the cars at the time he purchased the sports car. So, if the sentence was using WHEN in combination with a single 'had' there would be no confusion around the meaning. When we use the word BEFORE, the meaning becomes somewhat ambiguous because we can interpret the sentence to mean that he was in possession of the passenger cars when he bought the sports car or he might have gotten rid of them already. The way to eliminate the ambiguity completely with the word BEFORE is to use 'had had'.

Here is another example to illustrate how 'had had' clarifies meaning with the word BEFORE:
I had two hot dogs before my fries were delivered.
[We might reasonably assume that I had eaten the two hot dogs before I got my fries, but we could also interpret this statement to mean that I had two hot dogs on my plate and I was waiting for the fries before eating anything.]
[Here the meaning is clear. I was done with my hot dogs before the fries showed up (and I probably wasn't too happy)]

KW

I agree with your line of thought.However, in the example that you gave "I had two hot dogs before my fries were delivered",in my high opinion there should be no ambiguity in understanding this sentence.

Implicitly, sentence "I had two hot dogs before my fries were delivered" means that I had 2 HD before fries arrived no matter they exist on my plate or stomach that is out of scope.But the whole idea of using perfect tense is to make the time sequence clear enough.Nonetheless, here BEFORE creates a perfect time sequence so we have to AVOID perfect tenses when the simple tenses would do.

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19 May 2013, 04:27
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OG-11 CR85:

An unusually severe winter occurred in Europe after the continent was blanketed by a blue haze resulting from
the eruption of the Laki Volcano in the Europeans republic of Iceland in the summer of 1984.

The above is taken from CR of OG-11.

We can observe the usage of "AFTER" here .Simple tenses are sufficient in the above example.

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24 May 2013, 05:21
doe007 wrote:

Please refer to the following 2 reconstructions the first sentence -- here I replaced "had" with "in possession with":

a) Tim was in possession of several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car. This sentence makes clear that the possession was before the decision was made. This sentence would mean the same as the following two sentences.
-- ii) Tim had several passenger cars before he decided to buy a sports car.

b) Tim was in possession of several passenger cars while he decided to buy a sports car. This sentence does not make clear that the possession was before the decision was made.

I am not sure if there is anything wrong in my understanding.

Strange...I know I replied to this post already, but for some reason my reply got stuck somewhere in cyberspace...

Here is my feedback regarding your sentences above:

a) This sentence does make clear that the possession was before the decision. It also implies that he still had the cars at the time of the decision.
i) This construction doesn't make sense. Because past perfect is used to refer to an earlier completed action, you can't use 'had had' (happened previously) in combination with 'while' (happening at the same time).
ii) This sentence differs in meaning from a) because a) implies that Tim still has the cars whereas this sentence could be interpreted to mean that Tim didn't have the cars anymore.
b) This one is a bit awkward. The sentence is probably better written with "when" instead of "while". If you used "when" the meaning would be pretty similar to sentence a).

The main lesson with Past Perfect is that it is used correctly when you need to create a time relationship between two past events.

KW
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24 May 2013, 05:31
targetgmatchotu wrote:

I agree with your line of thought.However, in the example that you gave "I had two hot dogs before my fries were delivered",in my high opinion there should be no ambiguity in understanding this sentence.

Implicitly, sentence "I had two hot dogs before my fries were delivered" means that I had 2 HD before fries arrived no matter they exist on my plate or stomach that is out of scope.But the whole idea of using perfect tense is to make the time sequence clear enough.Nonetheless, here BEFORE creates a perfect time sequence so we have to AVOID perfect tenses when the simple tenses would do.

Rgds,
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TGC - Great catch! I got a bit careless with my word choice in that first sentence. To really create ambiguity in that sentence, I should have used 'when' just like we did in the earlier posts with Tim's cars.

I had two hot dogs when my fries were delivered. Here there is definite ambiguity in meaning. Did I just have the hot dogs in my possession or did I eat two hot dogs before I got my fries?

The takeaway here is that the 'time reference' words (before, when, while, at the same time) are every bit as important as tenses in establishing time relationships in a sentence.

KW
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24 May 2013, 06:33
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targetgmatchotu wrote:
OG-11 CR85:

An unusually severe winter occurred in Europe after the continent was blanketed by a blue haze resulting from
the eruption of the Laki Volcano in the Europeans republic of Iceland in the summer of 1984.

The above is taken from CR of OG-11.

We can observe the usage of "AFTER" here .Simple tenses are sufficient in the above example.

Rgds,
TGC !!

TGC - I like the example and it highlights a key point regarding Past Perfect (and other complex tenses). Only use complex tenses if there is a definite need to do so. So, prefer the simple tenses but recognize where the GMAT uses the perfect tenses in correct answers - here are some examples from the Verbal Supplement: #37 (Some buildings that...) and #39 (A recent study...).

KW

KW
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24 Jul 2013, 10:44
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according to aristotle sc grail .., the sentence represents past perfect for

TIM HAS SEVERAL PASSENGER CARS.

HOWEVER THE BOOK SAYS THE ABOVE SENTENCE IS IN SIMPLE PRESENT AND NOT PRESENT PERFECT.

kindly advise if it holds true. I feel "tim has several passenger cars" has stands for owns.

thus:

SIMPLE PRESENT : tim has several passenger cars is same as tim owns several passenger cars.

PRESENT PERFECT: TIM HAS HAD SEVERAL PASSENGER CARS , is same as TIM HAS OWNED SEVERAL PASSENGER CARS.

PAST PERFECT : TIM HAD HAD SEVERAL PC BEFORE HE DECIDED TO BUY SC. is same as TIM HAD OWNED SEVERAL PASSENGER CARS BEFORE HE DECIDED TO BUY A SC.

NOTE : the presence of before does not suffice ommission of past perfect here.

kindly guide if am thinking on the right track.
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