3

Let's say a teacher surprised his students by a quiz without informing them beforehand. Then, one of his students reacted and say:

(Student to student talk): The teacher hadn't informed us before the class started that we were going to have a quiz.

Is this correct? Can we use the tenses above? It sounds odd to me, due to the word "hadn't" itself, it's an uncommon usage in my case, particularly "didn't" is the verb tense I'm familiar with. So, to ascertain if my "hadn't" is grammatical, I am asking a helping hand to check it.

5
  • 3
    I think it's ok. "Didn't inform" is ok too.
    – user178049
    Nov 21, 2018 at 2:22
  • 5
    We can't sensibly respond until you tell us how it seems odd to you. It doesn't seem odd to a native speaker like me. Nov 23, 2018 at 1:46
  • I use past perfect as a first person singular, and uncommonly. But, here in the sentence example, I've used it to storytell.
    – John Arvin
    Nov 23, 2018 at 7:23
  • 1
    The past tenses used for telling a story are called the "narrative tenses" You have used all of them correctly in your example. But you did not explain why they seem odd.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 23, 2018 at 7:40
  • 1
    Your sentence is 100% grammatical. Rule of thumb: one action preceded another action.
    – Lambie
    Nov 24, 2018 at 19:57

2 Answers 2

4
+50

As a native speaker, the sentence seems completely fine to me.

(Student to student talk): The teacher hadn't informed us before the class started that we were going to have a quiz.

If we change the hadn't to had not...

(Student to student talk): The teacher had not informed us before the class started that we were going to have a quiz.

Here the "before" says that it was in past tense, and the "had" says that it is in the past perfect tense.

And past perfect is completely okay since an action is completed in the past.

The PAST PERFECT TENSE indicates that an action was completed (finished or "perfected") at some point in the past before something else happened.

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/tenses/past_perfect.htm

As said by user178049 ""Didn't inform" is ok too"

1

The sentence you used is in PAST PERFECT TENSE.It defines that when the two actions happe ed in the past ,in that two ,the earlier action is said to be in past perfect and later action is said to be in simple past, In this tense ,we use after ,before and when to join the clauses. Ex: 1.The teacher entered the class after the bell had rung. 2.Before I completed my breakfast,I had brushed my teeth.

2
  • 1
    You started having breakfast but before you had finished eating it, you brushed your teeth? It's grammatical but it doesn't make much logical sense. In my dialect it would be: "Before having breakfast, I had (already) brushed my teeth."
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 23, 2018 at 8:49
  • You're just a new contributor here, so I'll let this one slide for now RAJ. Be sure to know what your tenses are, next time I won't be nice. Still, I commend your effort.
    – John Arvin
    Nov 25, 2018 at 8:55

You must log in to answer this question.

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