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# Past Perfect Tense questions

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Manager
Joined: 11 May 2009
Posts: 120
Schools: Columbia Business School, Goizueta, Sloan

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15 Feb 2012, 04:11
Hello,

I am a little bit stuck with the Past Perfect because I just realized that it is a little more complex than I originally thought. Here is one example from MGMAT Guide:

By 1945, The United States HAD BEEN at war for several years.

Using this construction, you can even make a tricky sentence in which the first clause expresses an early action in Simple Past. Then, a second clause expresses a later action in Past Perfect to indicate continued effect (by a still later past time).

Right: The band U2 WAS just one of many new groups on the rock music scene in the early 1980's, but less than ten years later, U2 HAD fully ECLIPSED its early rivals in the pantheon of popular music.

Can someone please explain me exactly why is the first sentence considered to be younger than the second one, and what is the logic behind it. Thanks
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Re: Past Perfect Tense questions  [#permalink]

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15 Feb 2012, 05:15
Laker7 wrote:
By 1945, The United States HAD BEEN at war for several years.
Laker7 wrote:
Can someone please explain me exactly why is the first sentence considered to be younger than the second one, and what is the logic behind it. Thanks

the sequence is required to be shown here for the two things ( both of which are in past)
by 1945....is conveying the meaning that "By the time it was year 1945", thus the sentence is conveying that by the time it was 1945, the US had fought many wars ( or by the time it was 1945, the US had been at war for several years..
thus the sequence is required wherein the event taken place in past( The state of US been at war) demands past perfect.
now if we write sentence this way
By 1945, The US was at war for several years.
now this sentence doesn't explicitly expresses the logical meaning that is conveyed by the original sentence
apply the same on the second sentence.
Regards.
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Manager
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Schools: Columbia Business School, Goizueta, Sloan
Re: Past Perfect Tense questions  [#permalink]

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15 Feb 2012, 05:22
Thanks. But that first sentence is just an intro to what proceeds. Sorry for not clarifying that.

I understood the first sentence but not the one with U2. It is very confusing to me because the second sentence states "10 years later" and then comes past perfect even though their action came after 1980s.

A verb should be in past perfect if that the verb occurred before another action. But here it is not the case yet past perfect was used. Why is that so? It has to do something with continued effect but I do not get it.
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Re: Past Perfect Tense questions  [#permalink]

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15 Feb 2012, 06:31
1
Laker7 wrote:
I understood the first sentence but not the one with U2. It is very confusing to me because the second sentence states "10 years later" and then comes past perfect even though their action came after 1980s.

A verb should be in past perfect if that the verb occurred before another action. But here it is not the case yet past perfect was used. Why is that so? It has to do something with continued effect but I do not get it.

though i can explain but certainly not as good as an instructor does. Here is what Emily mgmat has to say

Generally, when you have two verbs in a sentence, one simple past and one past perfect, the timeline from earliest to latest event is (1) past perfect, (2) simple past, (3) now.

When we arrived at the theater, the movie had started.
Timeline: (1) movie began, (2) we arrived, (3) now.

In this exception:

The band U2 was just one of the many new groups on the rock musis scene in the early 80s, but less than ten years later, U2 had fully eclipsed its early rivals in the pantheon of popular music."
Timeline: U2 a new group (early 80's), U2 eclipses rivals (sometime in 80's), U2 top of pantheon of music (early 90's).

It's truly a tricky sentence, as the past perfect action happens before a certain implied event, which is simply the conclusion of that action. The main thing to note is that you could never make this exceptional use of the tense without very careful use of the time-indicating phrases in italics above.
hope the expl helps
u can also check out the link.
http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/the ... t8017.html
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A WAY TO INCREASE FROM QUANT 35-40 TO 47 : http://gmatclub.com/forum/a-way-to-increase-from-q35-40-to-q-138750.html

Q 47/48 To Q 50 + http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-final-climb-quest-for-q-50-from-q47-129441.html#p1064367

Three good RC strategies http://gmatclub.com/forum/three-different-strategies-for-attacking-rc-127287.html
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Re: Past Perfect Tense questions  [#permalink]

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16 Feb 2012, 09:07
Thanks for the effort, but unfortunately I still do not understand despite going to the link you posted.
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Re: Past Perfect Tense questions  [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2018, 00:34
Lolcat33 wrote:
Thanks for the effort, but unfortunately I still do not understand despite going to the link you posted.

Hi,

I truly agree with you!

Can some generous soul explain this example with another example and how can this be deciphered in exam conditions?

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Re: Past Perfect Tense questions  [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2018, 00:13
Hello honneeey, the crux of Past Perfect is:

Past perfect expresses the scenario that an event happened at some point before another event in the past, or at some point before another time in the past.

Here, the sentence under consideration is:

By 1945, The United States had been at war for several years.

The event of United States being at war for several years, happened at some point before another time (in this case, 1945) in the past. Hence, past perfect (had been) is the appropriate usage here.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses this aspect of Past Perfect. Have attached the corresponding section of the book, for your reference.
Attachments

Past perfect.pdf [20.79 KiB]

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Sentence Correction Nirvana available on Amazon.in and Flipkart

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Re: Past Perfect Tense questions  [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2018, 00:18
EducationAisle wrote:
Hello honneeey, the crux of Past Perfect is:

Past perfect expresses the scenario that an event happened at some point before another event in the past, or at some point before another time in the past.

Here, the sentence under consideration is:

By 1945, The United States had been at war for several years.

The event of United States being at war for several years, happened at some point before another time (in this case, 1945) in the past. Hence, past perfect (had been) is the appropriate usage here.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses this aspect of Past Perfect. Have attached the corresponding section of the book, for your reference.

Hi,

probably I needed to be more clear!

I got the point you are making over here but i want your help on this sentence that i mentioning here!

The band U2 WAS just one of many new groups on the rock music scene in the early 1980's, but less than ten years later, U2 HAD fully ECLIPSED its early rivals in the pantheon of popular music

How is this sentence correct?

what am i missing?

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Thanks and Regards,

Honneeey.

In former years,Used to run for "Likes", nowadays, craving for "Kudos". :D
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Joined: 27 Mar 2010
Posts: 1487
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Re: Past Perfect Tense questions  [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2018, 00:29
honneeey wrote:
The band U2 WAS just one of many new groups on the rock music scene in the early 1980's, but less than ten years later, U2 HAD fully ECLIPSED its early rivals in the pantheon of popular music

How is this sentence correct?

Hi honneeey, this particular sentence represents the following scenario:

Past perfect is used to depict an event that has happened within some timeframe before time in the past

Reproducing a similar example given in our book:

Explanation: This sentence is in past perfect (had established). If the sentence was by 2014, Peter had established himself well in the business, the time frame of reference for the event (Peter getting well-established in the business) would basically start in the past (in this case, year 2014) and would continue infinitely into the past. However, the sentence under consideration also states: Peter started his business in 2012. By stating this, the sentence is restricting the time frame that it is referring to in the past (in this case, until year 2012).

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses this scenario of Past Perfect. Have attached the corresponding section of the book, for your reference.
Attachments

Past Perfect - scenario 2.pdf [25.21 KiB]

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Thanks,
Ashish
EducationAisle, Bangalore

Sentence Correction Nirvana available on Amazon.in and Flipkart

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Re: Past Perfect Tense questions  [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2018, 03:33
1
1
honneeey wrote:
Lolcat33 wrote:
Thanks for the effort, but unfortunately I still do not understand despite going to the link you posted.

Hi,

I truly agree with you!

Can some generous soul explain this example with another example and how can this be deciphered in exam conditions?

First of all, I have discussed use of past perfect without simple past here: https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2015/0 ... questions/

And here is small excerpt which is relevant in this case:
The Past Perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.

We often ignore the “something happened before a specific time in the past” part of the tense.

For example, look at this sentence: Robin had never cooked pasta before last night.

Here, we use past perfect “had cooked” without another verb in the past tense – why? Because we use past perfect to show that something happened before a specific time in the past i.e. before last night.

So past perfect can be used before a specific time in the past.

The band U2 WAS just one of many new groups on the rock music scene in the early 1980's, but less than ten years later, U2 HAD fully ECLIPSED its early rivals in the pantheon of popular music.

The past perfect "U2 HAD fully ECLIPSED" happens before the end of 10 years i.e. early 90s (which is also in the past). The eclipsing happens BEFORE the end of early 1990s and that is why we use past perfect. It is not related to the first part of the sentence.

This is similar to saying:
U2 WAS just one of many new groups on the rock music scene in the early 1980's.
By early 1990s, U2 HAD fully ECLIPSED its early rivals. - specific time in the past in early 1990s.
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Re: Past Perfect Tense questions   [#permalink] 23 Oct 2018, 03:33
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