Had arrived vs Was arrived

Discussion in 'English Only' started by gainni21, May 5, 2011.

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  1. gainni21 Senior Member

    What's the meaning difference between these two statements:

    When i arrived, he had just arrived.
    When i arrived, he was just arrived.

    The first uses the past perfect and the second one simple past.
    So, are they both correct? Either in these case, is it better use just the past perfect?
  2. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English
    The second is incorrect. We don't form perfect tenses using the verb "to be".
  3. ghotioutofh2o Senior Member

    American English
    The second way doesn't make any sense.
  4. Anne58 Senior Member

    When I arrived, he had just arrived. (He was already there, waiting)


    When I arrived, he was just arriving. (He was getting there the same time as I did)
  5. gainni21 Senior Member

    Past Perfect or Past continuous, that's right.

    Thanks guys for the suggestions.
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    We have threads about perfect tenses so formed, Tazzler. They usually concern verbs of motion; the difference between:

    He is gone/he has gone
    I am come/I have come

    and so on. I agree that I've never heard anyone forming the perfect of to arrive with 'to be'.
  7. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English
    "gone" flashed through my mind, but the modern language was my main focus. Besides I think it's debatable whether "to be gone" in the modern language is truly a perfect tense.
  8. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    I agree. In "it was gone" (= it was no longer there), was is a simple past and gone functions as an adjective.
    Unlike gone, arrived can't function as an adjective. That's why he was arrived can't be used.
  9. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    OK. I was just thinking of the reader of the thread in two years time who doesn't know much English.

    Incidentally I'm sure you know that 'is gone' is found quite frequently in both the BNC and the COCA, which suggests that it is part of the modern language.

    There is also an entry in the BNC for 'is arrived' with no at appended. I was rather shocked by that. It's a truly terrible example.
  10. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    The speaker of this should be hanged, drawn and quartered.

    << Moderator's note:
    The final quotation is from the British National Corpus (BNC). The original source seems to be the transcription of a meeting. That is, it represents spoken English. >>
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2011
  11. Nucleara

    Nucleara Senior Member

    I agree, and the first one is also grammatically correct for using Past simple tense along with the Past Perfect to arrange the situation that happens first and the other none that happens later.
  12. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    You know much more about grammar than me, J-M, and you'll have to explain the point more fully. Take this sentence from the BNC:

    As he works, the baby in the cot beside the bed will hush its weeping, and sleep angelically, secure in the knowledge that the pimp is come.

    Now I don't think that come is any more adjectival here than if the author had written, secure in the knowledge that the pimp has come. It seems to me that the writer is after an ironical reference to religious language. This time it's not Jesus but the pimp who is come. Maybe quite a lot of the modern uses of the form are like this; they are either deliberately evoking biblical language - many of the examples in the BNC are from sermons - or parodying it.

    The example in the BNC of is arrived is truly awful. Don't look at it if you want a good night's sleep.
  13. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I assume the quote you gave was spoken language. If so, the speaker was doing what we all do, all the time, in speech - hesitate, make false starts, make mistakes:).
  14. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This thread has wandered away from a very straightforward response to a very straightforward question.
    The question is in post #1.
    The answer is in post #2.

    The opportunity has been taken to wander the thread into the territory of a different thread - where in some very unusual situations the verb "to be" is used to form the past perfect.

    Those who wish to discuss this very unusual structure are welcome to do so on the threads where it is directly relevant.

    To avoid confusing the current thread with such eccentricity, or with other peripheral issues, it has been closed.
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
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