he had claimed he loved me

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nagomi

Senior Member
Korean
"When I started dating this guy, "Mitch," everything was great. We were happy and made each other laugh. After three months, he left me a message saying he had to go out of state for work and would call when he got to where he was going. All I got was silence. Days turned into weeks and eventually into five months. Even though I loved Mitch and he had claimed he loved me, I started to accept that things were over between us."

Why is it "he had claimed he loved me"? Isn't it supposed to be "he had claimed he had loved me" to align time references?

source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/koreati...printpreview.asp?nmode=3&idx=981&gotopage=118
 
  • nagomi

    Senior Member
    Korean
    He had claimed he had loved me to me means that when he made the claim he no longer loved her. That isn't what it means here, as I'm sure you realise.
    How can a tense last longer than the tense forementioned? When 'he had claimed' is gone from the perspective at the time of his loving her.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I don't know what you mean, to be honest. As I said, the meaning is different. The original sentence (he had claimed he loved me) means that at some time in the past, prior to the time of speaking/writing, Mitch made a claim - he said "I love you" to her (not "I loved you", which is what He had claimed he had loved me tells me).
     

    nagomi

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I don't know what you mean, to be honest. As I said, the meaning is different. The original sentence (he had claimed he loved me) means that at some time in the past, prior to the time of speaking/writing, Mitch made a claim - he said "I love you" to her (not "I loved you", which is what He had claimed he had loved me tells me).
    That's very new to me. Thank you. I've always known that it's supposed to be "he had said he loves me" if it were to be an indirect speech, which means it was quoted.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    he had claimed he loved me,
    = at that time he made a claim of loving me.
    "Claim" ="a statement without [sufficient] evidence." (We can clearly see your current doubt of the truth of his statement by the use of the word "claim")

    Your context implies that his claim was false, and thus that "loving me" had (i) ceased at some time between the statement and the present or (ii) the claim was never true.

    "...He had claimed he loved me" sets the background and context to "I started to accept that things were over between us."

    The past perfect is used in narrative to set the background and context and is then followed by a consequence in the simple past, present [perfect] or future: "I started to accept that things were over between us."
     
    Last edited:

    nagomi

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I'm still not clear about this:

    a) he had said he loved me
    b) he said he loves me

    Both has a common link. They both are indirect speech. That's why both sentences take a sort of 'backward' tense (the earlier one is more past than the later). I think that's to quote what was actually said. Having said that, why is it "loved" for a) not "loves"? If it were really to quote the actual word?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I think you are confusing two things:
    1. reported speech

    A: "I have loved you."
    [a week later]
    B: "What did he say?"
    C: "He said that he had loved me."
    (Note the move from the present perfect to the past perfect)

    2. narrative to set the background and context
    I was now three months pregnant and Baron Blackheart had claimed (past perfect for background description) that he had loved (past perfect for background description) me (he actually said "I love you") but when I went (simple past for consequent actions) to see him, his butler set (simple past for consequent actions) the dogs on me.
    (Note the move from the past perfect to the simple past.)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    NOW
    I love him and he claims/has claimed that he loves me

    IN THE PAST
    I loved him and (at the same time) he claimed that he loved me

    I loved him and (at an earlier time) he had claimed that he loved me

    I loved him and (at an earlier time) he had claimed that he had [even earlier] loved me [but no longer did]
     

    nagomi

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I think you are confusing two things:
    1. reported speech

    A: "I have loved you."
    [a week later]
    B: "What did he say?"
    C: "He said that he had loved me."
    (Note the move from the present perfect to the past perfect)

    2. narrative to set the background and context
    I was now three months pregnant and Baron Blackheart had claimed (past perfect for background description) that he had loved (past perfect for background description) me (he actually said "I love you") but when I went (simple past for consequent actions) to see him, his butler set (simple past for consequent actions) the dogs on me.
    (Note the move from the past perfect to the simple past.)

    Is there anything I can refer to for this? I can see that when reported speech is quoted the tense needs to be moved 'back' into the past, but what I don't understand is how the original sentence "he had claimed he loved me" can work. The time frame for "he had claimed" is way more past than simple past (he loved me).

    From what I know, the concept of "perfect past" and "past" is as below:

    Perfect past --------------- past --------------- present
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The time frame for "he had claimed" is way more past than simple past (he loved me).
    This is not a rule - see my signature - it is simply guidance - It is not true in every case and it is not the total guidance.

    "He had said it was true, and then, a moment later, he said it was false! I think he's probably mad!"
     

    nagomi

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I loved him and (at an earlier time) he had claimed that he loved me

    From this, can this work:

    I loved him and he had claimed he loves me

    If not, what's the reason for the simple past tense for "loved" me?
     

    nagomi

    Senior Member
    Korean
    'Loved' because the entire sentence refers to the past, not the present.
    I hope I wouldn't confuse you. I'll try best.

    a) why is the first part (I loved him) is just simple past tense and the latter is past perfect? Isn't in English a rule to keep the tenses same?

    b) I think "have", "has" or "had" sets the time frame to be earlier than just simple past. Then how is it possible that "he had claimed" and "he loved me" are in the same sentence, if "had" represents earlier past.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    "When I started dating this guy, "Mitch," everything was great. We were happy and made each other laugh. After three months, he left me a message saying he had to go out of state for work and would call when he got to where he was going. All I got was silence. Days turned into weeks and eventually into five months. Even though I loved Mitch and he had claimed he loved me, I started to accept that things were over between us."

    Why is it "he had claimed he loved me"? Isn't it supposed to be "he had claimed he had loved me" to align time references?

    source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/koreati...printpreview.asp?nmode=3&idx=981&gotopage=118
    The past perfect carries a notion of "anteriority" ("before/farther back"), meaning that "something" happened before "something else" in past time (aligning time references, as you say). He had claimed he loved me means that "had claimed" happened before/farther back in time. This way, "anteriority" is clearly marked. He had claimed he had loved me complicates things; you've now marked "anteriority" twice (had claimed, had loved) and now language can't readily decipher what happened "first," had claimed or had loved.

    Is it grammatically incorrect to say "he had claimed he had loved me"? No; for the speaker, and for those familiar with the overall context, the sequence of events is always clear. But language is always partial to simplicity; one past perfect is simpler than two past perfects. This is particularly true in speech, as reflected in your example (I suspect that the speaker said "loved me" rather than "had loved me" intuitively, without thinking about it).
     
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