Why do you think Mr. Craven hide his child?

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JJJenifer

Senior Member
Taiwan/Chinese
Hi, everyone,

I've read a story on the website OnlineReader : The Secret Garden.
In the story, Mr. Craven hid his son in his son's room because his son was sick and reminded him of his dead wife.

About this, I want to ask people " Why did Mr. Craven hide his son?",
but I want to know the people's personal opinions,
can I say "Why do you think Mr. Craven hide his child?" or
"Why do you think Mr. Craven hid his child? "

I feel that the sentences are likely to confuse listeners about what I am asking.
Am I asking "Why do you think so"? or "Why did Mr. Craven hide his son?

Is the confusion for me only because of my incomplete understanding about this pattern.

Thank you very much in advance.
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes, a question with a structure like "Why do you think Mr. Craven hid his child?" is potentially ambiguous, but in practice we use such questions regularly, because the context makes it sufficiently clear. We would understand it as meaning "What reasons do you think that Mr. Craven had for hiding his child?"
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I agree with the newt.

    PS
    "Why do you think Mr. Craven hide his child?" :cross: "Why do you think Mr. Craven hides his child?" :tick:
     

    JJJenifer

    Senior Member
    Taiwan/Chinese
    Thank you, Newt.
    Then how do people make the context clear when they want to ask "why do you think so"?
    Add "that" in the setence or how?
     

    JJJenifer

    Senior Member
    Taiwan/Chinese
    Thank you, PaulQ,
    So, "Why do you think Mr. Craven hides his child?" is better for the story, or
    it is better if I want to use simple present tense?
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    What do you think is the reason Mr. Craven hides his child (in the book).

    Even though narratives are invariably told in the past tense—except for quotations and certain forms of direct speech—when discussing literature one normally uses the present tense. Chaucer wrote five and a half centuries ago but you still say "Chaucer writes ..."
     
    Last edited:

    JJJenifer

    Senior Member
    Taiwan/Chinese
    Thank you, Thomas Tompion and RedwoodGrove, and The Newt, PaulQ again,
    I think I've understood this grammer better!! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think the verb you need is hide away. He hid his son away in his bedroom. If he had killed the child then hide, would be right. He hid his son's body down the old well.

    Are you asking 'listeners' why he did this before they have read the story? Or, is it a listening/reading comprehension? I don't understand why people's 'personal opinions' come into it, when there is an answer given in the text.
    There is sometimes a good reason for eliciting a personal response to a given situation. This might be an advanced English conversation class, for example. What would you do in this situation?

    If I was asked to give a reason for a parent hiding their child away, I could give one or two, but that's based on many years experience of the wicked world of child abuse, western attitudes to the handicapped until recent times, and having read The Secret Garden several times! Maybe the topic of hiding handicapped children away is a universal one. If your students understand the idea from their own life experience, you can ask 'Why do you think parents hide their children away?'

    If you want to know in advance what people think, I see no problem with 'Why do you think a parent might/would hide a child away?' In speech, talking to people, you can stress 'you' or address them by their name.
    I can see no reason for using the present simple either. It's good to give students experience of using verbs in the simple past. The use of narrative/historic/ dramatic present is an advanced level idea, not to be encouraged. It promotes laziness and unacceptable speech habits.
     
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    JJJenifer

    Senior Member
    Taiwan/Chinese
    Hi, HermioneGolightly,
    Thank you for additional information and advices.
    You almost got it! It is a question for an English reading club.
    And as to the others, I'm waiting for your reason(s) and example(s), too. :confused:
     
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