help me understand the significance of a phrase

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Thread: help me understand the significance of a phrase

  1. #1

    help me understand the significance of a phrase

    In the chapter IV of "The Lost World" by Conan Doyle professor Challlenger sais to Mr. Malone:

    "I have given you rather more of my time than I had intended".

    I've got used to the Past Perfect tense being used in the context where Past Indefinite and Past Continuous are used too. Here , in the main clause, Present Perfect is used and there are no predicates in any Past tenses around at all, which makes me get confused. I would have said "I have given you rather more of my time than I intended". That has started me thinking. Perhaps the author wanted to express some shade of meaning that eludes me. Does the speaker want to imply that he doubts that he intended to give any time to his interlocutor at all? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by oxumoron; January 5th, 2011 at 07:36 PM.

  2. #2
    The professor means that at the beginning of the interview he had not intended giving Malone much time.

    Here is how he could have said it: 'Before we began I intended giving you little time. I have given you much more than I intended.' The intention was perfected at a point in the past, thus the 'had'.

    Conan Doyle's sentence is a concise way of saying that.

    Does that make it clearer, or did I muddy the water?
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

  3. #3
    Thank you for your explanation. It's really very clear. You've helped me much. But can Past Perfect be used instead of Past Indefinite where the use of Past Indefinite may be justified to simply express an emotional state?

  4. #4
    It really depends if you want to portray the emotional state as being finished.
    Past Simple/Indefinite = "I was angered"
    Past Perfect = "I had been angered"
    I know kung fu, karate, and 47 other dangerous words.


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