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In 1976, 60% of families were couples with children, but by 1996, this number had fallen to 51%. In 1976, 60% of families “were” couples with children, but by 1996, this number “had fallen” to 51%. -Is this sentence correct? The past perfect tense is used to show the time which happened before another event, but in this sentence, the earlier event “In 1976, 60% of families were couples with children” takes the simple past tense, and the last event takes the past perfect tense. Why? I think it should be on the opposite-In 1976, 60% of families “had been” couples with children, but by 1996, this number “fell” to 51%.
Jan 25, 2016 3:42 PM
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Answers · 1
In the simplest way to answer it - "had been" would not be correct as those couples used in the census with children most likely would still have children. "Had been" denotes that those same couples with children would have had a change (either removing children or removing couple) when most likely the census that happened later did not include the original couples with children. This means that they "were" - as in existed at the time. I may have made that far more complicated than it needed to be. Sorry!
January 25, 2016
秉奇
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Spanish
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English, Spanish