paraphrasing "he hasn't visited me"

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by golociladove, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. golociladove New Member

    Argentina (español)
    I have this sentence: " Unfortunately, he hasn't visited me for ages".
    And I'm supposed to paraphrase it beginning with "I wish.." so that it means exactly the same.

    would it be: "I wish he visited me from time to time"? or maybe "I wish he would visit me from time to time"?
    are those sentences grammatically correct?
  2. xqby

    xqby Senior Member

    Oxnard, CA
    English (U.S.)
    The second one sounds more natural for describing the present, the first form would be more common with something like "I wish he had visitied me from time to time last year." but as far as I know neither sentence is wrong.
  3. xx409xx New Member

    Here I would use the perfect past tense, for example, 'I wish he had visited me" because the use of the perfect gives the impression that he still has not visited, which is more what the original sentence is meant to convey. It is also the same tense that the question is in, and it is always a good idea to match tenses. If you use the simple past tense "I wish he visited me" it sounds like you want to refer to a specific time, as in 'I wish he visited me last Tuesday'.

    To answer the second question, yes, those sentences are grammatical, and sound native to me. They don't quite seem to have the same meaning though. They both would work.
  4. JimmyJ Member

    Black Hills of South Dakota, USA
    United States/English
    Hi golociladove...

    Yes, both of your sentences are grammatical, and they are good paraphrases of the sentence you were asked to paraphrase with "I wish".
    The two sentences do have the same meaning.

    I disagree with some of xx409's points. I disagree with him where he says,

    If you use the simple past tense "I wish he visited me" it sounds like you want to refer to a specific time, as in 'I wish he visited me last Tuesday'.

    It does not sound that way to me. Had you written "I wish he had visited me", it would, indeed, refer to the past. Also, the word "visited" in your sentence is not "simple past tense". It shares the same form of the simple past tense, but it is equivalent in meaning to the "imperfect subjunctive" in Spanish, as in the following sentence:

    Ojalá me visitara de vez en cuando. I wish you visited/would visit me from
    time to time.

    Lastly :), were you to use "had visited me", as xx409 suggested, it would not mean the same thing as the sentence you were asked to paraphrase.

  5. Tongue Tied Member

    Valencia Spain
    England English
    People forget that words carry meanings in their obsession with structure and tense. Here we have a typical transformation exercise (typical of structural approaches) which can blind you to lexis. The meaning of 'Unfortunately' is what actually must be translated and in conjunction with the perfect aspect (all retrospective forms look back from a point in the past, present or future) expresses regret. Regret must be included if the sentence is to mean 'the same'. Of course, again typical of most structural approaches, it is often forgot that any change in word is a change in meaning (if we start from a meaning based approach to language, structure takes a back seat) and so there is no 'same' meaning at all. In any case, if we are to preserve 'regret' we cannot turn the phrase into a prospective form (I wish he would visit) so for me the nearest phrase that included the obligatory 'wish' we'd need to say 'I wish he had visted'. Regret is final and can hardly be changed. If we said any prospective form (such as those approved by JimmyJ) we'd be expressing hope. The opposite of the original meaning.
  6. JimmyJ Member

    Black Hills of South Dakota, USA
    United States/English

    Hi Tongue Tied...

    I appreciate very much your comments on lexis and structure. However, I do have a couple of loose threads I'd like to tie up. :)

    My mistake, if I did make a mistake, may have been where I inferred from Golociladove's offerings of "visited" and "would visit" that his intended meaning was, indeed, prospective. For that to work as a good paraphrase of the original sentence, the element of "wishfulness" needs to be present in the original. I felt that was his interpretation of the meaning of the original sentence, notwithstanding that there was no "explicit" word in the sentence that communicated "wishfulness". Golociladove could clear up whether that was his "interpretation" of the sentence.

    In your view, Tongue Tied, can one reasonably/correctly interpret the sentence,

    Unfortunately, he hasn't visited me for ages.

    as containing these elements: 1. He has not visited me for ages. 2. It is unfortunate that he hasn't. 3. I wish he would visit me (Implicit in the sentence). ?

    Believe me, I am not simply trying to justify my earlier interpretation of the sentence. I am wondering whether element number 3 above would be inferring too much. I do know that when I say such sentences, I wish that the person would visit me more. That is an implied part of the utterance.

    Your comments will be greatly appreciated.


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