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# Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine

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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
prasannar wrote:
Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine poisoning; furthermore, caffeine did not seem to bother Samuel Johnson, the great writer and lexicographer, who was reported to have drunk twenty-five cups of tea at one sitting.

(A) furthermore, caffeine did not seem to bother
(B) however, caffeine did not seem to bother
(C) however, caffeine did not seem to have bothered
(D) furthermore, caffeine did not seem to have bothered
(E) in addition, caffeine did not seem to bother

Can anybody figure out what problem with "have bothered" in C? it is wrong grammar rule or change the meanning of the origin, if so please what it change? Thanks!
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
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The below explanation should help.

Quote:
There's a slight, very subtle difference in rhetorical meaning here, too: 'didn't seem to bother' reflects the views of a hypothetical observer who was actually there at the time of the mass caffeine ingestion, whereas 'didn't seem to have bothered' reflects the views of a hypothetical observer who took notes after the fact.

here's an analogy:

* if i'm looking at my table right now, i might say
there does not seem to be a knife in this setting.

* if i'm looking at a picture of a table setting from the past, i might say
there does not seem to have been a knife in this setting.
note:
- "does not seem" is in the present tense (since this is in my view - i'm an observer in the present)
- "to have bothered" shifts the focus to the time at which the table was set (a previous timeframe).

* if i'm talking about the situation in the picture - but from the narrative standpoint of an observer at that time - i'd say
there did not seem to be a knife in this setting.
- note that this is the same as the first example, but shifted into the past tense (since the observation was made in the past this time).

i can't shift the second sentence in the past - there did not seem to have been..., unless a past observer is observing a situation even farther in the past.
same goes for (c) in the problem at the beginning of this thread.
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
There is difference in meaning conveyed by B and C.
B talks about past tense i.e. caffeine did not seem to bother Samuel. We know the caffeine did not bother him till some time in past but we do not know about his condition in present.

Before looking at C lets see - "does not seem to have bothered", this construction indicates that till present caffeine has not bothered Samuel.
C "did not seem to have bothered" is incorrect because "did" indicates past tense and "have bothered" indicates "present perfect" which are incompatible.
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
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There is difference in meaning conveyed by B and C.
B talks about past tense i.e. caffeine did not seem to bother Samuel. We know the caffeine did not bother him till some time in past but we do not know about his condition in present.

I am afraid that is incorrect. The construction 'did not seem to bother' is indeed different in meaning from the construction 'does not seem to have bothered'. However, the difference is that 'did not seem to bother' indicates that the observation that the caffeine did not bother Johnson was made in the past. The construction 'does not seem to have bothered' indicates that the observation that caffeine did not bother Johnson has been made in the present.

The two constructions have nothing to do with whether caffeine bothered Johnson only in the past or continues to bother him till the present. If the writer wished to distinguish between whether the caffeine affected Johnson or not, the right constructions would be 'however, caffeine did not bother.....' or 'however, caffeine has not bothered.....'. In the second case, the rest of the sentence too will need to be changed to the present tense.
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
GyanOne wrote:
Quote:
There is difference in meaning conveyed by B and C.
B talks about past tense i.e. caffeine did not seem to bother Samuel. We know the caffeine did not bother him till some time in past but we do not know about his condition in present.

I am afraid that is incorrect. The construction 'did not seem to bother' is indeed different in meaning from the construction 'does not seem to have bothered'. However, the difference is that 'did not seem to bother' indicates that the observation that the caffeine did not bother Johnson was made in the past. The construction 'does not seem to have bothered' indicates that the observation that caffeine did not bother Johnson has been made in the present.

The two constructions have nothing to do with whether caffeine bothered Johnson only in the past or continues to bother him till the present. If the writer wished to distinguish between whether the caffeine affected Johnson or not, the right constructions would be 'however, caffeine did not bother.....' or 'however, caffeine has not bothered.....'. In the second case, the rest of the sentence too will need to be changed to the present tense.

I think i didn't express my emotions clearly. I meant exactly the same. When i said that "We know the caffeine did not bother him till some time in past but we do not know about his condition in present" i meant that statement was made in past and would account for effects till then.
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
Quote:
I think i didn't express my emotions clearly. I meant exactly the same. When i said that "We know the caffeine did not bother him till some time in past but we do not know about his condition in present" i meant that statement was made in past and would account for effects till then.

No worries - it's important to note the placement of the verbs to decide how the meaning changes. In this case, it is the observation that was made in the past (or present, as the case may be).
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
There is contrast in the meaning- Balzac was affected by caffeine while Samuel was not. Hence ‘furthermore’ or ‘in addition’ are not the correct terms as they don’t suggest contrast. Hence, A,D, and E can be eliminated.
C can be eliminated for awkward usage of “have bothered”.
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Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
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I would like to share a very important construction which I learnt from RonPurewal's Post. Below is analogy which he presented here https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/foru ... t8269.html

* if i'm looking at my table right now, i might say
there does not seem to be a knife in this setting.

* if i'm looking at a picture of a table setting from the past, i might say
there does not seem to have been a knife in this setting.
note:
- "does not seem" is in the present tense (since this is in my view - i'm an observer in the present)
- "to have bothered" shifts the focus to the time at which the table was set (a previous timeframe).

* if i'm talking about the situation in the picture - but from the narrative standpoint of an observer at that time - i'd say
there did not seem to be a knife in this setting.
- note that this is the same as the first example, but shifted into the past tense (since the observation was made in the past this time).

i can't shift the second sentence in the past - there did not seem to have been..., unless a past observer is observing a situation even farther in the past.
same goes for (c) in the problem at the beginning of this thread.
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
We need contrast -- A, D, and E are quickly eliminated. Between B and C, B is the better choice -- there is no need to use the present perfect tense here.

(A) furthermore, caffeine did not seem to bother

(B) however, caffeine did not seem to bother

(C) however, caffeine did not seem to have bothered

(D) furthermore, caffeine did not seem to have bothered

(E) in addition, caffeine did not seem to bother
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine [#permalink]
prasannar wrote:
Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died of caffeine poisoning; furthermore, caffeine did not seem to bother Samuel Johnson, the great writer and lexicographer, who was reported to have drunk twenty-five cups of tea at one sitting.

(A) furthermore, caffeine did not seem to bother

(B) however, caffeine did not seem to bother

(C) however, caffeine did not seem to have bothered

(D) furthermore, caffeine did not seem to have bothered

(E) in addition, caffeine did not seem to bother

A, D, and E can be eliminated since they don't use a comparison connector.

C can be eliminated since the option incorrectly uses "have bothered"

B correctly uses "however", and the idiom "seem to bother"
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died [#permalink]
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Re: Balzac drank more than fifty cups of coffee a day and died [#permalink]
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