Community Web Version Now Available
Why the author used the past perfect tense? I read this phrase in the "A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula Le Guin: "Yet even as the spell bound him, he had laughed". As I understand this means that after the boy was bound by the spell he still could laugh. I don't understand why the author wrote "had laughed" instead of "laughed": "Yet even as the spell bound him, he laughed". Thank you in advance.
May 29, 2013 11:22 AM
Answers · 10
"Yet even as..." marks a time clause, not a past simple event. The past perfect "had laughed" actually refers to "The boy could not speak, but he laughed. Then his aunt was a little afraid of his strength..." You'll notice in the previous sentence "she had tried...", which also gives some background to the aunt's fear and the boys laughter at that time.
May 29, 2013
Can you give the paragraph? It could be trying to say he had laughed sometime before being bound rather than at the same time.
May 29, 2013
Is the book translated into English?
May 29, 2013
The sentence is not, strictly speaking, grammatically correct. There is no need for the "had" but to add a bit of extra punch. I have no idea why it works that way and would recommend that you not use that pattern in your own writing. "I had seen this movie before but friend wanted to see it too so I went again. That is how had + PP is used in the vast majority of cases.
April 4, 2019
Thank you all, for your participation and answers!
May 29, 2013
Language Skills
English, Russian
Learning Language