Need Advice

For general discussion between ESL teachers.

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Need Advice

Unread post by pyrogyne » Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:09 pm

I'm an ESL tutor at a small university, and I'm having a difficult time explaining to one of my students why the following construction is incorrect:

I had been having a hard time to get up in the morning.

I've been through a number of books, and haven't found a satisfactory explanation. Wondering if anyone can help?

Thank you!

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Re: Need Advice

Unread post by GiddyGad » Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:42 am

Hi there,
pyrogyne wrote:I had been having a hard time to get up in the morning.
First concerning 'had been having':
it could be all right if there were a context in the past which would be the result of some action in, so to say, the pre-past , say, 'That's why my mom bought me a dog'. Nevertheless, a sequence of past simple tenses would do, I think.

Second about Infinitive 'to get up':
Infinitive is the name of the purpose and expresses rather intent than a state. I would use Gerund in this sentence - Gerund is viewed as an object and, therefore, the given, say:

"Try to use the key" could mean one doesn't know what to do with the key in his hand (an action).

"Try using the key" could mean the door doesn't open otherwise (a tool).

In your example, void of any context, I would say:

I had a hard time getting up in the morning.

If it helps,


PS: Another version: "I used to have..."

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