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had hoped

Discussion in 'English Only' started by HSS, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    I saw this sentence in an old TOEFL workbook. I have once asked in the forum about the past perfect used without a point of reference in time in the past, and been given advice that it is used to tell you that the event took place a long time ago, but that such is a rarity. (Or, so I remember) Does this sentence fall in that category? This is a single standalone sentence as a fill-in-the-blank question that I found in that workbook asking for the right phrase for the blank where I now plugged 'would progress,' but this 'had hoped' caught my interest (For your information, the other answer choices were 1) progress 2) had progressed 3) progressing).
    Although the scientific community had hoped that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors has curtailed research.
    Best,

    Hiro
     
  2. Le Penseur

    Le Penseur Senior Member

    Yes, the tense in this case is past perfect. It means that they once hoped for such a thing, but now that doesn't apply.
     
  3. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Thanks, Le Penseur. But can't just the past tense, hoped, suffice here? I wonder if the author used the past perfect because he/she wanted the sentence to sound as though the event of hoping had taken place a long time ago.

    Hiro
     
  4. Le Penseur

    Le Penseur Senior Member

    Yes, there is a somewhat implied distinction here. Although this is in no way (or mostly not) grammatical, I personally understand it as at least a few years ago.
     
  5. Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    Hiro

    I think that the tenses are mismatched. To me it should be
    Although the scientific community had hoped that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors has curtailed research.
    or
    Although the scientific community had hoped that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors has curtailed research.
     
  6. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    I quite agree with you, Andy.
     
  7. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I'm afraid I don't agree, guys:

    I think the original (a.) has it right:

    a. Although the scientific community had hoped that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors has curtailed research.

    The had hoped tells us that the hope was vain, and the has curtailed what has happened to make it vain.

    b. Although the scientific community had hoped that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors curtailed research.

    Now the simple past of curtailed concentrates less on the effect in the present as on the action in the past. I prefer a.


    c. Although the scientific community hoped that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors has curtailed research.

    Here the simple past of hoped fails to warn us that the hope was vain. The has curtailed refers us to the effect of this shortage into the present, but I prefer a. again.

    I can't see any actual grammatical mismatch in any of the three.
     
  8. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Hello,

    Very, very interesting, Thomas! So 'had hoped' tells us the hope hasn't materialized.

    I was thinking, by analogy, maybe you might be able to say something like the following, might you not?

    d. They had expected that the technology would advance a lot, but there has been a lot of obstacles.

    e. They had liked the technology to advance a lot, but there has been a lot of obstacles.

    Hiro
     
  9. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Hello Hiro,

    d. They had expected that the technology would advance a lot, but there have been a lot of obstacles.

    This is fine. The had expected tells us that the expectations were disappointed.

    e. They had liked the technology to advance a lot, but there have been a lot of obstacles.

    This won't do. It would have to be They would have liked the technology to advance a lot, but there have been a lot of obstacles.

    I think the point is that hopes and expectations refer to an emotional reaction to events in the future. To like doesn't do this, unless you put it into the conditional. I would like to go to Belfast tells us about your feelings about a future visit. I like to go to Belfast tells us about your feelings about going from time to time.

     
  10. dn88 Senior Member

    pl
    The second sentence seems really weird to me, especially the part in bold. Perhaps:

    They would have liked the technology to advance a lot...

    EDIT: Too slow...
     
  11. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    I agree with Thomas Tompion.

    I also would point out there is no sense of how long ago the event occurred.

    Examples:

    Before I went into the interview 20 minutes ago I had hoped that they would give me the job. Unfortunately my hopes weren't realised.:tick:

    Before I went into the interview 20 minutes ago I have hoped that they would give me the job. Unfortunately my hopes weren't realised.:cross:

    Before I went into the interview 20 minutes ago I hoped that they would give me the job. Unfortunately my hopes weren't realised.:tick:

    Before I went into the interview 20 minutes ago I was hoping that they would give me the job. Unfortunately my hopes weren't realised.:tick:


    Notice that in the first example it is very likely that "had" would be accentuated by the speaker in order to emphasise the sense of regret. "Before I went into the interview 20 minutes ago I had hoped ..."
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010
  12. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Thanks, Thomas and dn88.

    What about verbs such as suppose, intend, want etc.? I think they might work.

    They had supposed/ intended/ wanted to see the project develop a lot, but ...

    Hiro
     
  13. dn88 Senior Member

    pl

    Couldn't c. be interpreted as: they were hoping until they saw the final and irreversible effect of the shortage, and a. as: they abandoned the hope long before the shortage started to curtail research or maybe as soon as they saw it happening?
     
  14. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Thanks, grubble. So time is not a factor here. It can be any time, just a minute ago, a year ago, a century ago ... okay, thanks!

    Hiro
     
  15. Le Penseur

    Le Penseur Senior Member

    The principal clause in this example is 'the shortage of organ donors has curtailed research'. The subordinate clause - 'although the scientific community had hoped that the field of transplantation would progress' - adds information to the main clause.

    Here it outlines how the scientific community used to hope that the field of transplantation would progress, but now (implied by the main clause following the subordinate clause in this particular case) the shortage of organ donors have lessened this hope (and curtailed research).

    There's a difference in time, marked by the tenses.
     
  16. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Stoke on Trent
    England and English
    In your original post you say that such verb usage is rare, but I don't think that is so. It is a useful tense for showing sequencing of events over time. As you say the events can have happened a long time ago or in the last minute, the important thing being that something else happened more recently!
     
  17. HSS

    HSS Senior Member

    Sendai, Japan
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Yup, I did; I was looking at this through a different perspective. 'Had hoped' to show something was hoped for but didn't materialize --- I'm happy to know this construct should be seen through this. Thanks, all.
     
  18. marcin k Senior Member

    Poland, polish
    would progress is the reference point for had hoped
     
  19. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I don't see the difference between the two being the time it took for despair to set in.

    I find c. rather vague in tone, and I like the way the although clause in a. tells us that the hopes have been disappointed.
     
  20. TommyGun Senior Member

    What if we would try to express the same not about the present moment, but about a moment in the past? The past perfect remains the same and the present perfect turns into the past perfect, as below:

    Although the scientific community had hoped that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors had curtailed research.

    The question is if the sense of vain remains here as in the a. sentence.
     
  21. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Are you asking a question, TG, or making a statement?
     
  22. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Yes, the sense of the hoping coming to an end remains because although suggests a contrast and the past perfect in the although clause still puts the hoping earlier than the curtailing.
     
  23. TommyGun Senior Member

    I was asking a question. Sorry for inconvenience, but as far as I know it's ungrammatical to put a question mark after an indirect question, isn't it?

    Thank you, Forero!
     
  24. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Although the scientific community had hoped that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors had curtailed research.

    You could further clarify by adding a previously.

    Although the scientific community had previously hoped that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors had curtailed research.

     
  25. TommyGun Senior Member

    Thank you for you patience and hello again!

    I have another question about vain and hoping - can the same vain be expressed with 'was'?

    Although the scientific community WAS hoping that the field of transplantation would progress, the shortage of organ donors has curtailed research.

    If it is legitimate, should that 'was' be stressed in speech?
     
  26. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    It is legitimate, with or without stress on was, but this sentence is rather less connected.
     
  27. TommyGun Senior Member

    Thank you, Forero!

    Then, it is interesting what characteristics of the construction "had hoped" make a native feel the sense of vain?

    My considerations are below:

    Is it the fact that the past perfect tense connects the point of time in question with an infinite time interval in the past? Thereby suggesting that he hoped over a period of time and suffered more disappointment afterwards.

    Or the stress on the HAVE implies a state, thereby underlying that he was in a state of hoping, but his expectations have not been fulfilled and being in this state didn't lead to a logical success, but to a failure?
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013

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