before and since with present perfect

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Thomas Tompion

Senior Member
English - England
I caught myself the other day saying something like

I have met her both before and since the war.

Now I couldn't say I have met her before the war; it would have to be I had met her before the war.

But I seemed automatically to eschew the complexity and, to me, overcorrectness of

I had met her before and have met her since the war.

I imagine I'm not alone in saying things like

I have met her both before and since the war.

and live with its untidiness, preferring that, in conversation, to the apparent pedantry of the correct form. I have deliberately chosen a war, because I was talking about before and after some life-changing event. It's not enough to say something like I have known her since 1930.

What do people think?
 
  • Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    I would probably do the same as you, TT, in everyday conversation. It's brief and concise, which I like.
    But its untidiness, as you put it, is so apparent that in writing I would be more correct and wordier.

    PS Is Ewie for real?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    What do people think of what exactly, Mr.T?:confused:
    Of my suggestion that one should say:

    I have met her both before and since the war. ? Mr E.

    P.S. (for Spira's eyes only). I think Ewie is for real, yes. Although our only contact has been via our computers, I suspect he would pass the Turing test.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Now you've made it clear you're talking about a suggestion, TT, I fear I must respond with comments such as 'Gadzooks!' and 'Fie on you!'

    I come out with all sorts of scrambled stuff in speech but I wouldn't actually recommend doing so...;)



    PS. I would undoubtedly fail Mr Turing's test.
     

    Twoflower

    Member
    UK, English
    I cannot see any argument against the sentence, no matter how pedantic. You have met her on more than one occasion, some of which were before and some after the war. You are therefore in a position to comment on how it changed her. How else could you put it? The only way you could use the past perfect example would be in a narrative taking place during the war.

    Perhaps your substitution of "the war" for whatever disaster befell this unfortunate lady is obscuring the real point?

    Loob: That post alone proves you're a human!
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    Technically speaking, it should read, as TT said,
    I had met her before and have met her since the war.
    Pluperfect for before and present perfect for after.
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Why do you feel compelled to say I had met her before the war? Isn't I met her before the war more than enough to express pastness? This for Part #1.
    For Part #2 I'd say ... and I've met her since.
    The ensemble doesn't sound terribly wordy to my ears.
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    Yes, I met her before and have also met her since the war works as well in my opinion (but I felt compelled to add the ALSO, otherwise it felt strange).
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    As far a I am concerned both before and since the war is an adverbial phrase indicating a past period up to and including the present. The proper tense to use with it is the present perfect.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    I don't see any problem with Thomas's sentence, though I have a stylistic difference of opinion on a minor point.

    Q. Prof. Tompion, Sir...Have you met her on more than one occasion?
    A. Yes, I have. I have met her on two occasions. The first was before the war; the second was after the war was over.
    Q. I see. Would you please state that in different words, with particular attention to the times of your meetings relative to the time of the war?
    A. I have met her twice, once before and once after the war.
    Q. I see. Please rephrase that for us.
    A. I have met her both before and since the war.

    My minor quibble is with since rather than after. It's a small nit. TT's original is not wrong. I prefer after as a more direct contrast with before.
     
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