Paul had already gone home (already=necessary?)

< Previous | Next >

keramus

Senior Member
Persian
Hello everybody

This picture belongs to English grammar in use, Cambridge university press:
Murphy R. English Grammar in Use. 2012 4-ed.jpg
It's written:

When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had already gone home.
Is using already necessary? Can we say this sentence without already?

Thanks.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    If you omit "already", then "When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had gone home." can mean "When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul immediately went home."

    When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had already gone home. = Paul had gone home some time before Sarah arrived at the party.
     

    mink-shin

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea, Republic of
    Hi, Paul.

    May I ask you something about your post?

    I'm just little confused with the word immediately.
    "When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul immediately went home."
    When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had (already) gone home.
    In your paraphrasing that I quoted above, whose action is sooner than other's?
    It seems, to me, that yours suggests that Sarah's arriving is sooner than Paul's going home and that the OP sentence without already version suggests that Sarah's arriving is later than Paul's going home.
    Or should I regard those actions as simultaneous actions?

    Sincerely,

    SMK
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had already gone home.

    19:30hrs Paul arrives at the party
    19:45hrs Paul leaves the party.
    20:00hrs Sarah arrives at the party.

    When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had gone home.

    19:30hrs Paul arrives at the party.
    20:00hrs Sarah arrives at the party.
    20:00hrs and one second: Paul leaves the party.

    Immediately = straight away; without any delay.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    That doesn't work for me, Paul - at least not without context forcing that interpretation.

    In When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had gone home, the usual interpretation would be that Paul's going home happened before Sarah's arrival.

    In When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had already gone home, the already gives an additional implication that Paul had gone home earlier than expected.
     

    mink-shin

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea, Republic of
    When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had already gone home.

    19:30hrs Paul arrives at the party
    19:45hrs Paul leaves the party.
    20:00hrs Sarah arrives at the party.

    When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had gone home.

    19:30hrs Paul arrives at the party.
    20:00hrs Sarah arrives at the party.
    20:00hrs and one second: Paul leaves the party.

    Immediately = straight away; without any delay.
    Hi, Paul.

    Thank you for your replying.
    That doesn't work for me, Paul - at least not without context forcing that interpretation.

    In When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had gone home, the usual interpretation would be that Paul's going home happened before Sarah's arrival.

    In When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had already gone home, the already gives an additional implication that Paul had gone home earlier than expected.
    Hi, Loob.

    Thank you.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It works better for me if we start with Paul, but even better if we use 'already'.
    There might be no need for 'already' if the previous text makes it clear. Leaving out already in the example sentence sounds so strange: I had to do a double think about what exactly it meant, even in the context of this question. This suggests to me that 'already' is essential to convey precise meaning, if not grammatically obligatory.

    Paul had gone home when Susan arrived at the party, so she asked his wife if he had finished his book.
    Here 'when' means 'at the same time', or very soon after, and suggests it was her arrival that prompted his departure.

    I think the right time adverbs are necessary to clearly indicate a sequence of events.
    'By the time' could replace 'when'. showing that Susan's arrival was not connected with Paul's departure.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It's interesting, Hermione: even your modified sentence
    Paul had gone home when Susan arrived at the party, so she asked his wife if he had finished his book.
    can be parsed in two ways:
    Paul had {gone home when Susan arrived at the party}, so... (when = immediately after)
    {Paul had gone home} when Susan arrived at the party, so... (when = by the time)


    In the original sentence, the likelihood that when = by the time still seems decidedly stronger to me.
     

    mink-shin

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea, Republic of
    Dear Loob.

    Paul had {gone home when Susan arrived at the party}, so... (when = immediately after)
    Do you mean Hermione's modified sentence can be interpreted as that Paul's going home's later than Susan's arriving?

    As far as I know, I can use the past perfect tense in expressing completed action before something in the past.
    But I cannot understand your parsing based on my knowledge.
    Is there any point I've been missing?

    Thanks.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi mink-shin

    You're absolutely right that we
    use the past perfect tense in expressing completed action before something in the past.
    What's going on in this thread is that there are two candidates for the description "completed action".

    In the first interpretation the completed action is "Paul had gone home", and the action that followed this is "Sarah arrived".

    In the second interpretation, the completed action is "Paul had gone home when Sarah arrived", and the action that followed this is something else - perhaps Hermione's "she asked his wife...".

    I still stick with my view that in the absence of context forcing the second interpretation, the first interpretation is far more likely. And it's true that Paul and Hermione only said the second interpretation was possible.:)
     
    Last edited:

    mink-shin

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea, Republic of
    Hi mink-shin

    You're absolutely right that we
    use the past perfect tense in expressing completed action before something in the past.
    What's going on in this thread is that there are two candidates for the description "completed action".

    In the first interpretation the completed action is "Paul had gone home", and the action that followed this is "Sarah arrived".

    In the second interpretation, the completed action is "Paul had gone home when Sarah arrived", and the action that followed this is something else - perhaps Hermione's "she asked his wife...".

    I still stick with my view that in the absence of context forcing the second interpretation, the first interpretation is far more likely. And it's true that Paul and Hermione only said the second interpretation was possible.:)
    Oh, I see, Loob.

    Honestly I didn't understand the brackets in your parsing. I had no regard with them. But now, I think I should've tried to understand what they meant.
    Now, having read your kind explanation, I can understand what's going on in this thread.

    Thank you, Loob.

    Have a nice day. :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top