compound Tense in English

Discussion in 'English Only' started by youngbuts, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. youngbuts Senior Member

    Hello, everyone!

    While I was preparing for a test, I got a drill question below, which asks me find out a sentence that includes a wrong part in itself.

    (a) A : Did you hear that Tim and Amy are getting divorced ?
    (b) B : No. How could that be?
    (c) A : Apparently, they've had problems for a while.
    (d) B : That's sad. What about the kids?

    The answer sheet pointed at (A), but I have not been able to figure out the reason.
    My first feeble assumption is the reason of the wrong is about the tense.
    I think I can say Tim and Amy would divorde or Tim and Amy were getting divorced.

    However, if their divoce has not done and is supposed to happen in future, could I say 'Did you hear that Tim and Amy will divorced ?"
    If it is possible, is the reason of the error in the phrase of be getting divorced?

    I'm sorry my question is messed up. But, now I'm messed up. Could you teach me please?

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. Wildcat1 Senior Member

    Amer. English
    In (a), "Have you heard" sounds better to me than "Did you hear" (but Americans, at least, do say both).
  3. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think you're focussing on the wrong bit of the sentence. I expect that the test setter would have preferred 'Have you heard that Tim and Amy are getting divorced?'

    Edit: Cross-posted with Wildcat. Slow in my typing!
  4. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I might use "Have you heard ..." in (a) but do not think "Did you hear ..." is incorrect.
    Similarly, I might use "... Have been having problems ..." in (c) but the original is not incorrect.

    I ddon't think it is a good drill question :(
  5. youngbuts Senior Member

    I see. Thank you, Wildcat1, natkretep and JulianStuart. I have been clear now thanks to you.
  6. Sedulia

    Sedulia Senior Member

    Paris, France
    **Literate** American English
    I don't think A is wrong in any way. In fact, like Julian, I would be more likely to say C is less idiomatic as most native speakers would say "have been having problems..." Some people might prefer to say "are getting a divorce" but in modern English, "getting divorced" is a normal way to say that.

    This reminds me that one of my children once came home from a French school with an answer marked wrong on an English paper. The teacher wanted the answer to be "Have you got a ball?" and my child had written "Do you have a ball?" --which is perfectly correct. This sounds like a problem of a non-native-speaker teacher.
  7. youngbuts Senior Member

    Hmm... confused...
  8. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    "Did you hear that Tim and Amy are getting divorced?"

    I find this perfectly acceptable in BrE too, if it refers to a particular moment when the matter was being discussed.

    Again I share the preference for "they've been having problems", but I don't find any of the sentences incorrect.
  9. youngbuts Senior Member

    Did you hear yesterday that Tim and Amy are getting divorced? (I think Did is right because of yesterday.)
    Have you heard yesterday that Tim and Amy are getting divorced? (I think have heard is wrong because of yesterday.)

    The problem seems to be whether the both sentences below can be used in the context above.

    1. Have you heard yesterday that Tim and Amy are getting divorced?
    2. Did you hear that Tim and Amy are getting divorced?

    When we consider the listner have never heard of a fact, could we use the pattern of #2, the past?
    I think it could be possible, depending on the general sense of language. I agree that the question is weired.

    Thank all of you for your kind advices!
  10. Wildcat1 Senior Member

    Amer. English
    I agree. But in most cases such questions simply mean "do you have knowledge of", "have you been made aware of", and by the traditional distinction between simple past and perfect, "Have you heard" would be more appropriate. But in any case, given that the OP's question was: "I was told A is wrong; what's wrong with it?", and given that many people feel "Did you hear" is wrong in this context, the use of the simple past tense is almost certainly what the test writer had in mind.

    I agree in both cases.
  11. JuanEscritor

    JuanEscritor Senior Member

    English - AmE
    A bad question with a bad answer. I'm sorry you have to learn English from such unreliable sources.

    As everyone else has said, the entire conversation you posted is perfectly acceptable English.


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