companies <had> organized protests

JJXR

Senior Member
Russian
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


Source:

2 Workers From Same Walmart Store Die After Contracting The Coronavirus

Context:

Walmart said two employees at its Evergreen Park store in the Chicago area have died after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Sample sentence:

The news comes after weeks of outcry from workers whose jobs in retail and food are declared essential while much of the country is asked to self-isolate. Workers at Amazon, Instacart, Walmart, McDonald's and other companies had organized protests, petitions and written letters to executives, asking for temporary closures of their facilities, more protective gear, hazard pay and other stepped-up measures.

Question:

The "had" in bold is included in the original. Would the sentence be correct without it in this case?


Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

Regards,
JJXR
 
  • JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, MrMuselk.

    I think it wouldn't be possible to omit it if "comes" was changed to "came." In that case, the "had"'s function would be to make the sequence of events clear, i.e. it would emphasize that the companies in question organized protests before the news came:

    The news came after weeks of outcry from workers whose jobs in retail and food are declared essential while much of the country is asked to self-isolate. Workers at Amazon, Instacart, Walmart, McDonald's and other companies had organized protests, petitions and written letters to executives, asking for temporary closures of their facilities, more protective gear, hazard pay and other stepped-up measures.

    Is my understanding correct?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No, it would not be correct to omit had. Although doing so would violate no rules of grammar, it would change the meaning of the sentence.

    The original means the organizing of protests happened before the news of the two deaths.
    If you omit had, it could be interpreted as protests being organized as a result of the news.

    In this respect it makes no difference whether comes or came is used.
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, Edinburgher.
    If you omit had, it could be interpreted as protests being organized as a result of the news.
    The author seems to be trying to present the passage in post #1 as a present tense narrative. If it's a present tense narrative, then the simple present should be used to give that meaning:

    The news comes after weeks of outcry from workers whose jobs in retail and food are declared essential while much of the country is asked to self-isolate. Workers at Amazon, Instacart, Walmart, McDonald's and other companies organize protests, petitions and written letters to executives, asking for temporary closures of their facilities, more protective gear, hazard pay and other stepped-up measures.

    In this present tense narrative, the simple past places the protests before the news:

    The news comes after weeks of outcry from workers whose jobs in retail and food are declared essential while much of the country is asked to self-isolate. Workers at Amazon, Instacart, Walmart, McDonald's and other companies organized protests, petitions and written letters to executives, asking for temporary closures of their facilities, more protective gear, hazard pay and other stepped-up measures.

    Is it not correct that in a present tense narrative a verb put in the simple past denotes an event/action that is earlier in time than another event/action denoted by a verb put in the simple present?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Is it not correct that in a present tense narrative a verb put in the simple past denotes an event/action that is earlier in time than another event/action denoted by a verb put in the simple present?
    Perhaps so, but it is the coming of the news that is the "event/action denoted by a verb in the present". "The news" is news of the deaths. The deaths are by implication in the past relative to the coming of the news. It would not be clear enough that the protests were organized before the deaths, only that they were organized before the news of the deaths came.
     
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