After all those years, he had kept the photos.

wanabee

Senior Member
Japanese
Dear all,

Twenty years ago, I gave him a photograph of beautiful cherry blossoms. To my surprise, he had kept it after all those years.

I made up the sentences, but I'm not sure if writing "had kept..." is grammatically correct.

Would it be better if I wrote like the following?:
To my surprise, he still kept it after all those years.

Thank you in advance.
 
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Your first effort is almost flawless, your second is missing the mark.

    (1) To my surprise, he had kept it after for all those years.

    (2) To my surprise, he still kept had it after all those years. ........................ (Cross-posted with Perpend)
     

    wanabee

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Your first effort is almost flawless, your second is missing the mark.

    (1) To my surprise, he had kept it after for all those years.

    (2) To my surprise, he still kept had it after all those years. ........................ (Cross-posted with Perpend)
    Thank you very much, Beryl.

    About No.2, is "had" better than "kept"? ("missing the mark" means it's close but not right?)
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you very much, Beryl.

    About No.2, is "had" better than "kept"? ("missing the mark" means it's close but not right?)
    As you might imagine, 'to keep' is an activity which has duration, and not one that can be accomplished in the moment - it has a continuous aspect 'built in'.

    So, if I say 'I keep it in a safe place', it means that I've been doing it for a while; that's implicit.

    Similarly, if I say 'I'm keeping it in a safe place' it either means that I've been doing so for a time, or that I intend to do so, but again, for a time. I cannot do so in the moment.

    But you can have something in the moment (provided that you're still alive to do the having), and that's why I swapped 'to keep' for 'to have'.

    Incidentally, for the reasons just stated my version of (1) works alive or dead.
     
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