Will Smith hatte Chris Rock ins Gesicht geschlagen (verb tense)

fabio407

Senior Member
Brazilian Portuguese
Hi!

Why did Rolling Stone magazine [ here ] use Plusquamperfekt tense in these clauses? Is it correct?
I've just reread the rules/guidelines of the use of Plusquamperfekt and I would expect Präteritum or Perfekt in the first clause and Plusquamperfekt in the second one.

"Will Smith hatte Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith gemacht hatte."

I'd be grateful of any help. Thanks!
 
  • idialegre

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The German Plusquamperfekt does not correspond quite so neatly to the English (or, I believe, the Portuguese.) In this particular case, I suspect that it is a question of context, i.e., the temporal relationship between Will Smith's slap and the tenses of the verbs and/or actions of the surrounding sentences in what is presumably a longer paragraph. So it would help if you would provide some more context.

    Independent of that, Germans often use Plusquamperfekt to indicate an action in the somewhat more remote past, where English would still use the simple past tense. For example, if you apply for a job, then wait two weeks, then write again, you might say, "Sehr geehrter Herr Schmidt, ich hatte Ihnen vor ein paar Wochen geschrieben...," whereas in English you would just say, "I wrote to you a couple of weeks ago."
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Additionally "nachdem" makes clear what is meant.


    1. "Will Smith hatte Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith gemacht hatte."

    Variants with the same meaning:


    2. "Will Smith schlug Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith gemacht hatte."


    3. "Will Smith schlug Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith machte."

    There are even more possibilities. I would use 1. or 2.

    Possible is also:


    4. "Nachdem Chris Rock einen bösen Witz über Will Smiths Frau Jada Pinkett Smith gemacht hatte, schlug dieser ihm auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht."

    4. is the "natural" sequence according to time.
    1. focusses at importance. (I do not know exactly how to call this grammatically. The sequence of the storry telling is vice versum to the time sequence.
    But it is very idiomatic.
     

    fabio407

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    The grammar I've checked wasn't complete on that subject.

    Then Plusquamperket is used

    a) the same way Past Perfect is used in English (as in Examples 2 and 4 given by Hutschi);

    b) "to indicate an action in the somewhat more remote past, where English would still use the simple past tense" (idialegre, at #2 and Maformatiker's analysis at #3).

    Thank you all very much!

    In spoken German you would use Perfekt where Präteritum was used in the Examples 2, 3 and 4 given by Hutschi, right? I mean in combination with Plusquamperfekt in a sentence.
     
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    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Hi, it is possible to use perfect tense, but it does not sound good together with plusquamperfect.

    In many southern areas perfect replaces imperfect in spoken language, in many cases, this is because in the dialect many words do not have past tense markers. So in coll. language (non-dialect but influenced by dialect) they use much more perfect tense in spoken language (Alltagssprache).
    There are even some differences in understanding between north and south.

    So it could be similar to:
    "Will Smith hat Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith gemacht hat."
    This is also available in standard language. But it is not style usually used in news

    (Here I replaced the tense. It has the same meaning, but a very different style and it is not "Alltagssprache" yet. It is simplified and not very exact. You can add in an embarrased tone "auf offener Bühne".



    It would sound somehow like:
    Hast du schon gehört? Der Will Smith hat doch dem Chris Rock bei der Oscarverleihung auf offener Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen. Der hat nämlich einen doofen Witz über seine Frau gemacht."
    Note: This is not standard language style. Usage "der" and "dem" with names as here is only in the south.

    However, I am influenced by the original.

    Note: News are also spoken, but they have basically the same style as written language, maybe a little bit shorter.

    You can mix here also past tense and perfect, but not so good plusquamperfect and perfect.
    Kajjo gave an example where it works in #8.

    ---
    I do not know exactly the status of spoken language in the north.
    They often think such southern style is just wrong or uneducated.

    Edit: improved description of style.
     
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    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    use Plusquamperfekt tense in these clauses? Is it correct?
    Yes, this is correct. The nachdem-clause happened before the main clause. Since the narrator uses narrative preterite for the main clause, he must use plusquamperfect in the subordinate nachdem-clause.

    The same applies if the main clause is written in perfect.

    Nachdem + Plusquamperfekt, <main clause> Präteritum/Perfekt.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    Streng genommen muss mit "nachdem" folgende Zeitenfolge beachtet werden:
    Standardsprachlich muss bei nachdem die Zeitenfolge beachtet werden: Wenn der Hauptsatz im Präsens steht, steht der Nebensatz im Perfekt. Wenn der Hauptsatz im Präteritum oder Perfekt steht, steht der Nebensatz im Plusquamperfekt.
    Beispiel: Hauptsatz = Präsens – Nebensatz = Perfekt
    Hauptsatz = Präsens: Er beginnt mit seinem Studium, nachdem er die Deutschprüfung bestanden hat.

    Beispiel: Hauptsatz = Präteritum oder Perfekt – Nebensatz = Plusquamperfekt
    Hauptsatz = Präteritum: Er begann mit seinem Studium, nachdem er die Deutschprüfung bestanden hatte.
    Hauptsatz = Perfekt: Er hat mit seinem Studium begonnen, nachdem er die Deutschprüfung bestanden hatte.
    Temporale Satzverbindung (IV): nachdem, danach, nach
    +
    Screenshot 2022-04-27 at 13-47-55 Temporalsätze mit nachdem - mein-deutschbuch.de.png

    Quelle

    Umgangssprachlich wird das allerdings freier gehandhabt.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Yes, this is correct. The nachdem-clause happened before the main clause. Since the narrator uses narrative preterite for the main clause, he must use plusquamperfect in the subordinate nachdem-clause.
    Re-read the sentence. The narrator does not use preterite in the main clause. They use pluperfect in both clauses:
    Will Smith hatte Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith gemacht hatte.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    I've just reread the rules/guidelines of the use of Plusquamperfekt and I would expect Präteritum or Perfekt in the first clause and Plusquamperfekt in the second one.

    1.
    Will Smith hatte Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith gemacht hatte.
    In both cases Plusquamperfect is used.
    2.
    The nachdem-clause happened before the main clause. Since the narrator uses narrative preterite for the main clause, he must use plusquamperfect in the subordinate nachdem-clause.
    Will Smith hatte Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith machte.
    correction:
    Will Smith schlug Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith
    gemacht hatte.


    As well 1. and 2. are correct in this case.

    Nevertheless 2. often sounds better. In some cases it may depend on context.
    ---
    Additionally there is a non-standard version in coll. language, the double Plusquamperfect.

    Will Smith hatte Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith gemacht gehabt hatte. (Non-standard. But I prefer this sometimes in coll. language (Alltagssprache). It has an additional step in time.

    gemacht hat (perfect)
    machte (imperfect)
    gemacht hatte (plusquamperfect)
    gemacht gehabt hatte (double plusquamperfect) - non-standard - source: Doppeltes Plusquamperfekt – Wikipedia (I do not quote more, because it is only used in coll. language.)

    This is useful if you want to use different time forms. But it is regional (large regions use it).


    Usually in case of "nachdem", a tense is used that indicates a time before the main clause.
    But also the same tense is possible because "nachdem" indicates the sequence.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    As well 1. and 2. are correct in this case.
    In written language, I would not have expected this and I don't consider it correct; except, maybe, if there is an adjacent sentence relative to which both clauses can reasonably understood as "Vorvergangenheit". But as it stands, I would consider sentence 1. incorrect.

    In spoken colloquial language, this sentence might occur and sound natural. But then hatte+ppl would not be understood as pluperfect but as a kind of emphatic past tense ("Ultra-Perfekt").
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Will Smith hatte Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith machte.
    correction:
    Will Smith schlug Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith
    gemacht hatte.
    Thank you very much.

    Sorry, it was a strange typo.
    I corrected it. I described it the way as I corrected it but wrote it the wrong way. A kind of brain mismatch. I stroke it in my original posting so that it is clear.
    The form I stroke is not the one I use.
    I am very sorry for my confusion.
    Bernd
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    Two plusquamperfects are valid, too, just a not so common case. If the main clause is in plusquamperfect, the nachdem-clause has to be in plusquamperfect, too. This is possible if in narrations an older time frame is required. Most grammars do not list this special case, but it is correct and idiomatic.

    Er grübelte, was am Vortag geschehen war. Hatte er den Schuss wirklich erst gehört, nachdem der Einbrecher schon das Haus betreten hatte? Oder war es andersherum gewesen?

    Auch so klingt es für mich völlig idiomatisch:

    Er musste den Bericht unbedingt fertig bekommen. Wie sollte er bloß den Vorfall beschreiben? Will Smith hatte Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht geschlagen, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith gemacht hatte.
     
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    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    So, to decide it the usage is correct we would need the larger context.
    Yes, indeed. Thanks for agreeing. I am glad that the double plusquamperfect is accepted as correct by you.

    In a normal narrative I would of course expect "<preterite>, nachdem <plusquamperfect>". However, there are situations like those I pointed out, in which the double plusquamperfect is formally perfectly fine and idiomatic.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    correction:
    Will Smith schlug Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht, nachdem dieser einen bösen Witz über seine Frau Jada Pinkett Smith
    gemacht hatte.
    :thumbsup:
    Oder umgekehrt (so war die Reihenfolge):

    1) Zuerst: Rock hatte als Präsentator für die Kategorie „Bester Dokumentarfilm“ einen plumpen Witz über die Ehefrau von Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, gemacht.
    2) Dann: Will Smith verpasste Chris Rock auf der Bühne eine Ohrfeige.

    Nachdem Chris Rock einen plumpen Witz über die Ehefrau von Will Smith gemacht hatte, schlug dieser Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    You are right.
    It depends on the purpose what sequence is better.

    If Will Smith schlug Chris Rock auf offener Oscar-Bühne ins Gesicht, is at the first position, it will get attention.
    It is arranged not according to time but according to topic then. (Is this a kind of topicalization?)
     
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