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I'd like to know what's the difference between these sentences:

  1. By the time we had had lunch it was 2.30
  2. By the time we had lunch it was 2.30

and

  1. I had hoped you would invite me.
  2. I did hope you would invite me.
  3. I was hoping you would invite me.
  4. I hoped you would invite me.

Edit: Some more specific questions:

a) The third sentence means that I had hoped until a moment in the past. But does it mean that he invited me, he didn't invite me or maybe it can't be infered from this sentence?

b) What's the difference between the 5th and the 6th sentence?

c) Does the second sentence mean that t was 2:30 when we were having lunch?

  • Well it's just a matter of tenses. Have you seen the tenses involved? – Alejandro Dec 9 '15 at 2:13
  • Yes, I have. The sarcasm is not necessary. – user2738748 Dec 9 '15 at 2:16
  • @user2738748: I'm not sure there was any sarcasm intended, and it's probably best to assume there wasn't. We get all kinds of learners here, and it's perfectly legitimate for someone to ask a question like this and not spot the tense differences... or not know how to break them down at all. – Nathan Tuggy Dec 9 '15 at 2:21
  • I have some ideas about the differences. The first pair is quite clear, but the next four sentences are harder to work out. Obviously, they differ in tenses, so obviously the meaning depends on the tense which was used, but a little more than just "t's just a matter of tenses" would be helpful. – user2738748 Dec 9 '15 at 2:27
  • No sarcasm was intended. If you perceived it like that, I'm sorry. Perhaps you could've added some info. in the examples to be reviewed. – Alejandro Dec 9 '15 at 2:28
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The two time sentences can be interpreted as:

  1. By the time we had had lunch it was 2.30

We finished lunch by or before 2.30

  1. By the time we had lunch it was 2.30

We started lunch on or after 2.30

  1. I had hoped you would invite me.
  2. I did hope you would invite me.
  3. I was hoping you would invite me.
  4. I hoped you would invite me.

All of the sentences express a previous hope of being invited, however, it is ambiguous whether the person was or was not invited.

What would be clearer for all four sentences is:

...you would have invited me.

meaning the person was not invited.

From my experience, had hoped sounds more AmE, and did hope sounds more like the BrE equivalent. #3 and #4 both suggest there was a previous hoping that has now ended, and this might possibly bias interpretation towards not being invited.

#5 and #6 could sound like the person was invited:

"I was hoping you would invite me along", he said, as he got into the car.
"I hoped you would invite me, and you did!"

The contrast between #3, #4, and #6 is that #3 and #4 sound like the hoping stopped further in the past than #6.

  • +1, although I disagree that "...you would have invited me." is clearer or even grammatical in all four sentences. – Readin Dec 10 '15 at 6:59
  • Thanks @Readin for the up vote. The invited/not invited is ambiguous since a context is not given, the phrase on its own is a bit awkward. Also, I did not mean that not being invited was the only way to interpret the situation, eventhough that's the example I gave. – Peter Dec 10 '15 at 11:10
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Most of the differences here would only be noticed if the sentences were spoken aloud in a conversation. The verbs used in examples 3-5 (had, did, was) are all being used in an empathic sense - carrying with them a emotion implying the speaker was actually looking forward to being invited.

Now, whether the invite was not extended, and the emotion expressed is remorseful, or the invite was received, and the speaker is full of joy is, of course, entirely up to you.

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