1

Are there any differences between those sentences, and if yes what is that?

Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, but they hadn't met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn't have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be.

Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, but they didn't meet for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn't have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be.

7
  • Yes, the former is grammatical, the latter is not. Mar 8, 2017 at 15:37
  • didn't met is incorrect for at least one major reason: you always use the bare infinitive after to do, not a conjugated form.
    – stangdon
    Mar 8, 2017 at 15:38
  • 1
    "...but they hadn't met for several years; in fact..." indicates that there was no meeting for some time (several years) prior to the narrative. COMPARE TO: "...but they didn't meet for several years after the Potter wedding; in fact..." indicates a span of time since some specific event.
    – Davo
    Mar 8, 2017 at 15:49
  • 1
    @TeacherKSHuang - perhaps. I have read a lot of books, and I (believe that I) have a very good feel for how the language works. But I'm not always able to properly identify and explain the official rule of how and why something should be a certain way. But thank you, I will compose a proper answer for this. :)
    – Davo
    Mar 9, 2017 at 13:23
  • 1
    Actually, this will help me learn the proper labels by researching them. Thanks!
    – Davo
    Mar 9, 2017 at 13:30

1 Answer 1

2

The usage:

...but they hadn't met for several years; in fact...

indicates that there was no meeting for some time (several years) prior to the narrative.

The usage:

...but they didn't meet for several years after the Potter wedding; in fact..."

indicates that there was no meeting for some time (several years) since some specific event.

3
  • As far as I know "didn't meet" is "past simple". Am I right?
    – vho
    Mar 9, 2017 at 14:24
  • @VardanHovhannisyan Ah, you are correct. Let me edit that.
    – Davo
    Mar 9, 2017 at 14:28
  • 1
    Looks good to me :)! And I notice you hadn't even needed to learn the proper labels :D (not that I think you would have needed them anyway :)). Mar 10, 2017 at 8:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .