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he didn't know the car was stolen

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mimi2, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Hi,
    1. I refuse to believe that he didn’t know the car was stolen.
    2. I refuse to believe that he didn’t know the car had been stolen.
    I think both of the sentences are correct.
    Am I right?
    Thanks.
     
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Yes, although the first sentence has a greater sense of immediacy to it. It implies that he had some contact with the car while it was in a "stolen" condition.

    A person who bought a classic car, for example, might not know that the car had been stolen thirty years ago. Since the car had been bought and sold since then, it was no longer a stolen car (although the original owner might disagree), but it had been stolen at some point in its existence.

    As another example, let's say a car was stolen and damaged. Once it was repaired, the owner might say, "You would never know it had been stolen."
     
  3. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Thank you, JamesM.
    To you, which is better in the context. I think it is the first but I am not sure about my feeling.
     
  4. The Slippery Slide Senior Member

    Japan
    Britain
    I would go for the first.

    In "was stolen", stolen acts as an adjective. If I bought a car, and didn't know that it had been stolen from someone else, I might say, "I didn't know the car was stolen."

    In "had been stolen", stolen acts as a verb. If I were in my office, and didn't know that someone had taken my car from the car park outside, I might say, "I didn't know the car had been stolen."
     
  5. mimi2 Senior Member

    vietnam vietnamese
    Thank you, The slippery Slide, for your clear explanation.
    I understand and agree with you totally. Thank you. :)
     

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