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no sooner + present simple (inversion)

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by salvia, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. salvia Senior Member

    español- españa
    Hi everybody!

    This is a grammar questions related to tenses after "no sooner".
    I know that when talking about past events, Past Perfect is normally used after "no sooner", but can we use a present simple after it when talking about things that are always true?

    For example, would this sentence be correct:
    "No sooner DO you set foot in this city than you realise how welcoming it is" ?

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. sunrise25 Banned

    Argentina
    No.

    No sooner is only used with the past perfect in the sentence that starts with no sooner, and the past simple tense in the next sentence.

    No sooner had you set foot in this city than you realized/realised how welcoming it was.
     
  3. mhp Senior Member

    American English
    Your example looks fine to me.
     
  4. sunrise25 Banned

    Argentina
    No, that´s not the way it works with no sooner. You can only use either the past perfect or the simple past, but never the present tense. It´s wrong to use no sooner with the present tense.
     
  5. mhp Senior Member

    American English
    As I said, it sounds fine to me and as far as I know it is a perfectly valid construction:

    From my Oxford dictionary:
    no sooner do you give him a toy than he breaks it
    (le regalas un juguete y enseguida lo rompe)
     
  6. sunrise25 Banned

    Argentina

    When you say no sooner than you state that something happens before another action .

    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1535_questionanswer/page61.shtml
    http://www.bartleby.com/64/C003/0216.html

    Quote from: BBC:CO:UK/World service/learning English. "My question is about ‘no sooner’ and ‘than’ requiring the semi-inversion. Most of those sentences sound like 'no sooner came John to the station than the train arrived'. And my question is, how can I make two sentences of this one sentence, in order to understand better the way it functions?


    We need to be clear what happened first. Does it mean, the train came in and then me, or I came in and right after me the train? Well, my experience is actually that I arrive at the station, and then the train doesn’t come in for hours.

    But, to answer your question, if I say “no sooner had I arrived at the station than the train came in”, it means, I came in, and right after me the train. I got there first… just! I’ll give you another couple of examples:

    “No sooner had I put the phone down than it rang again”.

    “No sooner had I finished the meal than I started feeling hungry again”.

    It’s actually a rather literary construction. I’d expect to read it, maybe write it, but I probably wouldn’t say it. Instead I think I’d say something like this:

    “The train came in just after I got to the station”, or “ had only just got to the station when the train came in”…or something like that."

    That´s the the purpose of using the structure no sooner than , a literary structure built to express that between two actions, there is one that happens first. However, when you use no sooner with the present time, you are not really using the structure no sooner in the way is properly meant for.
     
  7. mhp Senior Member

    American English
    What question?

    I really think you are making this a lot more complicated than what it is.
     
  8. sunrise25 Banned

    Argentina
    I was just quoting a couple of examples to state my point of view, that is, to make myself understood. In other words, I was naming a few examples to get my message across.
     
  9. IxOhOxI

    IxOhOxI Junior Member

    Thai
    In fact, 'no sooner' can also be used in the present simple form.

    This sentence is correct.

    -No sooner does he finish the detective story, than he turns to the audiences and speaks that the man is a criminal.-
     
  10. MARIENNA_966 New Member

    Europe
    English-Spanish
    As far as I know,

    sentences of this kind:

    "No sooner does he finish the detective story, than he turns to the audiences and speaks that the man is a criminal" are perfectly correct, to express something that usually occurs or when we use narrative present.
     
  11. iskndarbey Senior Member

    Lima, Perú
    US, English
    You're wrong. The two sentences have different meanings, but each is perfectly grammatical.
     
  12. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    The present simple can be used with "no sooner".

    One use of this is to express exasperation: "No sooner do I promise to wash the car than you go and wash it yourself!" This could be a complaint about habitual, repeated, behaviour (something that is "always true") or it could be a complaint about one very recent occasion.

    A car magazine might say "No sooner do you climb inside this car than you feel as if you have known it for years." The "you" here means the reader, any reader, so the words are supposedly "always true".

    I have no objection to the original sentence (post #1): "No sooner do you set foot in this city than you realise how welcoming it is."
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  13. jdprov31 Junior Member

    Texas
    USA / English
    I also agree that "no sooner" may be used with the present simple. I have heard it and read it used both ways, and it does not sound strange either way. I could even imagine it being used in future.

    "You just watch . . .no sooner will I mention Sara's name to him than he will start smiling."
     
  14. Latuamacchina Senior Member

    Midwest, USA
    English/Midwest, USA
    No soon do I set foot in the city...sounds fine to me too.
     
  15. MARIENNA_966 New Member

    Europe
    English-Spanish
    Thank you sound shift,

    That's the point: exasperation

    In sentences like this one:

    no sooner do you give him a toy than he breaks it!! (posted by mhp, from his Oxford dictionary) just a couple of exclamation marks and accurate tone and.. you've got it!!.

    CONCLUSION:

    The present simple can be used with "no sooner".
     

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