For general discussion between ESL teachers.

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Unread post by scarlet862 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:20 am


please help me find the correct sentence. I would say it is 2). Thank you

1)In the most recent study, students who have read the article before coming to class, get a questionnaire.

2)In the most recent study, students who had read the article before coming to class, got a questionnaire.

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Unread post by Estefania » Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:54 pm

In my opinion, both of them are correct. Option 1, indicates that it is an ongoing situation. While, Option 2, is only in the past.

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grammar, syntax, and translation...

Unread post by eric_p_m » Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:51 pm

Dear Scarlet,

Your two options do not really have a problem with temporal concordance. To support Estefania's stance, the present perfect indicates continuity while the past indicates a specific endpoint.

You should comprehend this, as the Spanish grammar system compares with English in this respect. However, I venture to say that your two options make me wonder about a logic problem. If the writer's native language was Spanish, I think that the problem here lies in mood or just a bad translation from Spanish. If the writer's mood was in the subjunctive in Spanish, English would not point this out except by listening to the speaker's voice or by the surrounding context composed by the author. Furthermore, in Spanish, the present may be utilized for the immediate future while in English, we have to use the future to allow accurate cultural comprehension.

At an advanced grammar level, I would point out that the writer's choice of the relative pronoun "who" instead of "that" points out the fact that receiving the questionnaire would actually be beneficial. Given the cause and effect structure, I would say that the writer just translated poorly from Spanish and in English, he or she should have written, "... will receive a questionnaire." If so, the first option needs to be rewritten and then would be the better answer between the two.

By the way, your subject line is "has/ have". This is subject-verb agreement and since "students" is plural, should I even continue down this grammatical path?


Eric Paul Monroe


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