A Macedonian had been driving (drove) six hours across Italy at the start of holiday before he reali

ritter66

Senior Member
Czech
Hello all :)


They had to wait at the vet for several hours. They had been carressing :tick:their dog, so he was fairly calm when the nurse called them in.

A Macedonian had been driving :cross:(drove) :tick:six hours across Italy at the start of holiday before he realized he had forgotten something, his wife.


According to one native speaker past perfect continuous doesn´t sound well in the second sentence. Is it when/before what makes the difference? I was told that the past perfect continuous works well in the first sentence - but there is when instead of before. To me it has always seemed that past perfect continuous is perfectly ok in the sentences as you can see above. Why do you think it is better to use past simple instead of past perfect continuous in the second sentence? Is it possible to create a sentencewith using p.p. continuous and before?


Thank you very much!
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    A Macedonian had been driving for six hours across Italy at the start of holiday before he realized he had forgotten something, his wife.
    A Macedonian had been driving for six hours across Italy at the start of holiday when he realized he had forgotten something, his wife.

    I'd be more likely to use the continuous form than the simple past. The simple past is just a bald statement, not leading on to further statements. The continuous form could be leading on to the next sentence or two (the rest of the joke?).

    I have no problem at all with either of those (except that I would write "for six hours", as I have done.) There's no real difference in meaning, but a slight difference in emphasis - the first puts a little more emphasis on what preceded the realization, the second puts a little more on the moment of realization.

    You could rewrite your dog example using "before", it just changes the meaning a little. "They had been caressing their dog, so he was fairly calm before the nurse called them in." Context would determine which form was more appropriate. "... but as soon as she appeared he turned into a raging monster."
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    There are some sentences where it simply does not matter which form of the verb you use. I don't know who told you that "drove" is preferable to had been driving but they were probably confused by the poor syntax in the sentence.

    1. A Macedonian (to drive) six hours across Italy at the start of holiday before he realized he had forgotten something, his wife. :cross:
    2. At the start of his/the/a holiday, a Macedonian (to drive) across Italy for six hours before he realized he had forgotten something, his wife. :tick:
    (To drive) can be answered by had been driving, or drove, or had driven. As the joke relies upon the length of time, had been driving is probable more appropriate but all are OK grammatically.

    Crosspost with Andy.
     

    ritter66

    Senior Member
    Czech
    Native speaker from America told me that I´d better to use past simple instead of past perfect continuous. In his opinion it is "C1/C2" kind of mistake and everybody would understand me if I used p.p. continuous instead of past simple.

    However I had found this sentence in my textbook. It confused me when I saw it for the first time. I thought that p.p. continuous would fit much better. Therefore I asked my teacher and because she wasn´t quite sure she asked this American to help her:)


    More context: The sentence with the word "drove" comes from the very beginning - after a title.

    Man leaves wife at petrol station

    A Macedonian drove six hours across Italy at the start of holiday before he realized he had forgotten something, his wife.

    Ljubomir Ivanov left her at a petrol station when he stopped to fill up with petrol, and didn´t realize his mistake until he got a call from the police on his mobile phone.

    "Are you Ljubomir Ivanov?" they asked.

    "Yes, I am," he said. " What is the matter"?


    ............
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, I'd expect a newspaper story to use the simple past here. It could just as well be:

    A Macedonian had been driving for six hours across Italy at the start of his holiday before he realized he had forgotten something, his wife.

    Ljubomir Ivanov had left her at a petrol station when he stopped to fill up with petrol, and didn't realize his mistake until he got a call from the police on his mobile phone.

    There's no mistake ("C1/C2" doesn't mean anything to me, I'm afraid).
     
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