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Last week Tim went camping with his friends. They seemed (to have a good time).

  1. To having a good time.
    1. To have had a good time.
    2. To be having a good time.
    3. No improvement.

Here I think option 4 is correct but my book suggests option 2. Please explain the correct option with its meaning.

  • 1
    I would have said that #3 was the correct answer! They seemed is in the simple past tense, so to me the most natural thing would be how they were feeling at that time in the past. #2 implies that last week when they were camping, they had already had a good time, which doesn't really make sense. – stangdon Sep 6 '18 at 15:27
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"They seemed to have a good time" implies Tim and his friends are still camping, as in, "I went to see Tim and his friends during their camping trip and they seemed to have a good time."

If you were to say, "They seemed to have had a good time," then the action is most certainly passed already. Tim is no longer camping.

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I would agree with you on 4. To me it reads naturally.

While 2. might be technically correct, it is overly wordy for no real reason. The example is already in the past, and "a good time" is understood to be a period of time, so saying that with perfect tenses isn't necessary.

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