sentence of past perfect tense and past simple

Discussion in 'English Only' started by susan1112, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. susan1112 Junior Member

    Polish
    Hi

    I'd like to know if I understand it properly.
    I've just made up this sentence: I had heard the voices resonating until they disappeared.

    I'd be grateful for any help !:)




    Susan
     
  2. Schimmelreiter

    Schimmelreiter Senior Member

    Deutsch
    Why past perfect?
    I heard the voices resonating until they disappeared.
     
  3. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    The main clause could be correct in both past simple or past perfect. Only context would allow us to decide which one is better.
     
  4. susan1112 Junior Member

    Polish
    I used past perfect because the first action in the sentence started a long, long time ago in the past and continued for some time.

    What do you think?
     
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Can you give us some more context, susan? You might use "I had heard" if the idea is that the 'hearing' precedes some other action or event in the past.
     
  6. Schimmelreiter

    Schimmelreiter Senior Member

    Deutsch
    This, in itself, doesn't justify past perfect: The Roman Empire lasted for centuries until it collapsed.

    As lucas-sp pointed out, more context is needed.
     
  7. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    You could say something like "I had heard the voices resonating until they disappeared, but then I came to realize it was only the echoes of our conversations playing tricks with my mind."

    I think you need an additional event in the past, which the sound of the voices pre-dates in order to use a pluperfect tense for the verb "hear". Just saying it was a long long time ago isn't enough: it needs to be relative to something else.
     
  8. susan1112 Junior Member

    Polish
    This is my own example. I wrote what I meant above.
    But this action doesn't precede any other action in the past.
    So, it will stay I heard the voices resonating until they disappeared. ?
     
  9. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yes: if it doesn't precede another action in the past, you just use the simple past.
     
  10. susan1112 Junior Member

    Polish
    Ok, I understand it now.

    Thanks a lot.
     
  11. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    The past perfect does usually describe past events that take place before other past events, so to use it you do need some temporal sequence that motivates the past perfect.

    I knew what I had heard. :tick: at the time when I did the "knowing" I had already completed the action of "hearing"
    I had waited for her all afternoon, and she never showed up. :tick: at the time when I made this judgment - that she never showed up - I had been waiting all afternoon

    In other words, the past perfect can't just be used as a "distant past" tense. For that, we use adverbs:

    I heard the voices.
    Once, I heard the voices.
    Long ago, I heard the voices.
     
  12. susan1112 Junior Member

    Polish
    Thank you for your additional information.
    It's helpful.
     

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