Author Topic: Two past actions in a paragraph  (Read 5910 times)

Miss Mae

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Two past actions in a paragraph
« on: November 18, 2011, 08:23:01 PM »
What if the two past actions were specified in two sentences in a paragraph?

She herself attested to this. She (penned/had penned) an executive order creating a private-public initiative to promote health tourism.

Joe Carillo

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Re: Two past actions in a paragraph
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2011, 09:45:51 PM »
The two past actions in the two sentences above evidently didn’t happen simultaneously. The attestation was done after the penning of the executive order. The later action should then be in the simple past tense, and the action before it should be in the past perfect tense, as follows:

“She herself attested to this. She had penned an executive order creating a private-public initiative to promote health tourism.”

Here are two other ways of constructing such sentences in the past perfect:

1. By directly attributing the earlier action as a statement of the subject:
“She herself attested to this, saying she had penned an executive order creating a private-public initiative to promote health tourism.”

2. By introducing the past perfect element as a relative “that”-clause:
“She herself attested that she had penned an executive order creating a private-public initiative to promote health tourism.”

However, if the time of occurrence of the later action is specified, say “in July,” that action takes the past tense as well:

“She herself attested to this. She penned an executive order in July creating a private-public initiative to promote health tourism.”

“She herself attested to this, saying she penned an executive order in July creating a private-public initiative to promote health tourism.”

“She herself attested that she penned an executive order in July creating a private-public initiative to promote health tourism.”

Miss Mae

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Re: Two past actions in a paragraph
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2011, 02:29:13 PM »
Thank you, Sir!