1

Look at this sentence

A third single was recorded. The band had run out of money and had hoped that a big label would release it, but after several months and no success the impetus had been lost and the band disbanded the following year.

Would it have the same meaning if I wrote

A third single was recorded but the band did not have any more money to release it and did not expect to release it any more and after several months the impetus was lost and the band disbanded

In fact my question is past perfect in that case working as a kind of explanation why the band disbanded: No money, no hope to release the single, no more impetus -- that is why the band disbanded

1

Your rewrite does not have the same meaning. You have basically written a different story.

  • You have eliminated the entire middle of the story: the band's hope that a "big label" would pick up the song and release it, and the failure of that hope after several months.

  • You have changed the significance of the band having run out of money: in the original they did not need the money in order to release the single but in order to survive. Their hope was that the release of the song would provide the money which would permit them to continue.

The past perfects are part of the author's "strategy" for telling his story.

  1. The first sentence employs a simple past to to establish the story's starting point—what grammarians call the Reference Time (RT).

    (I assume that this is a paragraph in a longer narrative, so this episode starts at some point after the previous part of the narrative.)

  2. The next part employs two past perfects to establish the background of that starting point: the events which caused it to happen. The band had at some earlier point run out of money and they had hoped that recording a new song would rescue them.

    (Ordinarily we would expect hope to be expressed with a simple past, implying that that the band hoped for that outcome at RT, at the time they recorded the song. The author, however, conceives that hope as something which furnishes the "impetus" for the recording; indeed, as he will show us presently, the recording is really the high point of that impetus.)

  3. Having explored the background, the author resumes his narrative and jumps ahead to a new RT (that's how narrative works, from one point to the next) defined by the locative phrase after several months. Again he employs a past perfect to characterize the background to that point in time: during the interim, the impetus had been lost. That is the reason why eventually (at the final RT) the band folded.

I don't mean to imply that the author's strategy is the only strategy or the best strategy or even a particularly good strategy; but it is a workable strategy, and it manages to tell a fairly dramatic little story.

Your rewrite, however, misses the drama: "A, but B, and C, and D, and E" is merely a recitation of consecutive incidents. I urge you to avoid stringing clauses together with a series of ands: find more interesting connections between events.

0

It depends on what you mean by meaning...

Does is relay the same information?

Yes, but a good way to look at it is like this...

If you look at the two, the main difference between using past perfect and not, both grammatically and in tone and style, has to do with telling a story.

You will notice in news paper articles, television news, and even in everyday speech, when we talk about things that happened in the past we always use the past perfect.

Everything in bold is a past, and your speaking now in the present.

Now A third single was recorded but the band pastdid not have any more money to release it and pastdid not expect to release it any more and after several months the impetus was lost and the band pastdisbanded

Now -- past -- past -- past pp etc...

Whenever we talk about things that happened in the past, and we mention something that happened before that, meaning we get a situation where we have repeating pasts we use the past perfect.

Now A third single past was recorded. The band had run out of money and had hoped that a big label would release it, but after several months and no success the impetus had been lost and the band pastdisbanded the following year.

Now -- past -- pastPerfect -- pastPerfect -- etc..-- and end it with a past

This is very common pattern for telling stories, the point is when you tell stories out of chronological order they become more interesting.

Its boring to listen to someone say,

We went to the store. Then we went home. Then we went to school.

instead...

We had been to the store before went home, then we went to the store.

Yes those are both boring sentences, but hopefully you can see one (the one using the past perfect) is a bit more interesting to read. :)

0

It would not be the same as Past Perfect is used here to describe events that happened BEFORE the first action.

Past Perfect is used when you want to indicate that something happened before some other past action.

If you use Past Simple like in your example, it means that all those actions happened at the same time, probably one following another.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.