Using past simple instead of past perfect

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by 607, Oct 27, 2023.

  1. Hi, it's me again!

    For years now (maybe since the start of his YouTube channel), Etho has used the past simple instead of the past perfect. I've been wondering lately, is this common in Canada, the USA and/or the UK?
  2. I had to google that. I have no idea what is meant by either simple or perfect. Those are new terms to me and being ignorant of the definitions for the past 50 years has worked so far. When I was in school it was just called past tense.

    Edit: Changed the number of years to take into consideration the first few years I didn't know how to speak or read.
    Tuqueque and 607 like this.
  3. Born in Liverpool, England over twenty-three years ago. Not once in all my years speaking my city's very particular spin on English, nor in my months-long ventures across the border into Wales, have I ever heard of either of these phrases.

    Asked my girlfriend for her opinion. She was born and raised in the midlands of England, attended private school (two environments where you're taught to speak posh and proper), and she has also spent a lot of time in Wales too. She's never heard of or used them either.

    As a side note, I had no idea Ethoslab was still uploading. That's a mega blast from the past, wow 💀
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  4. I live in the American Midwest, in Michigan. Etho's speech doesn't seem accented to me nor have I noted any unusual phrasing in his speech. Because his speech sounds so typical to me, I suspect I likely also speak similarly. "I was surprised when I learned that he is Canadian.", he said in a past simply manner.

    If he were from North of here in Ontario I would probably recognize the accent. My guess would be that he is from the South, like Windsor or the Toronto area.

    I am curious as to what makes you notice, 607? Does his speech sound out of place in the way it is phrased? How does it compare to your language?
    607 likes this.
  5. This is very interesting. I've always heard people speaking in past perfect, but I didn't know there was a term for it. I live in the mid-south USA (upper half of Arkansas). Everyone speaks in past simple here -- however, in the southern half of the state, which is actually the South, more people use past perfect. So, it's most likely a southern USA thing. I've noticed the same thing in other southern states: Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, etc. It is not common in the rest of the country.
    607 likes this.
  6. Well, thanks for all your comments. :D
    I'm sorry that I didn't provide an example. I figured everyone here would know what I meant, having learnt about verb conjugation in both primary and secondary education, if not also tertiary education. But it appears I was mistaken. :) Come to think of it, I think most of my peers would not be 100% confident on the naming of Dutch verb forms either. Of course, you don't need to know the official terms to be able to speak a language.
    Also, I should've been more clear, as I see I confused Ulti as well. I didn't mean that Etho never uses past perfect, I mean that he uses the 'wrong' inflection when he does use past perfect.
    I could make up some examples, but I think I'll wait until I hear Etho do it again, for a real example. :)
    The interesting thing about English is that you don't notice very often when someone uses past simple instead of past perfect. In English verbs can have different present tense, past tense and past participle forms (eg. sing, sang, sung). However, regular verbs actually have the same past tense and past participle forms (eg. live, lived, lived). Thus, if someone were to always use the past tense form instead of the past participle form while forming a past perfect, you would only notice it on irregular verbs. :)
  7. I would be curious as to an example. I don't watch Etho - or really any MC content creators - so I don't know which types of verbs he uses in that way. /shrug.
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  8. I didn't mention him in my comment. I had to do a bit of research to understand past simple and past perfect. From watching a minute of one of his videos, I could tell he mostly uses past simple -- like the majority of speakers in the USA.
  9. As I said, I wasn't talking about which grammatical tense is used in a sentence, but about which verb inflection is used for a past perfect sentence. Or present perfect, for that matter, which is probably more common. I'm sorry for the confusion.

    I've watched a couple dozen minutes of Etho since my last post, I think, but either I haven't come across an example yet or I haven't been paying enough attention. All the perfect uses I noticed used verbs where the past participle form was the same as the past tense form, so you wouldn't be able to tell, as illustrated before.
  10. It's three in the morning. I am awake. Tonight's random burst of early morning motivation has involved wondering what this thread's question actually meant.

    Based on my limited research (skimming this page), I think I speak in both?

    The example that page gives says that the 'past perfect' would be saying 'I had seen' instead of 'I saw'. Imagining a scenario in which I've just seen someone do something sneaky (say, swiping an extra biscuit out of the biscuit tin), I'd probably say "I saw them do that."

    But then as evidenced by the sentence I used to talk about when I'd use the past simple, I use the past perfect too.

    Much to think about.
  11. I'm sorry to hear that the post right above yours wasn't enough to clarify what this thread's question actually meant. Assuming you meant my intent.

    Anyway, I finally got an example: I shoulda went sooner.
    Edit: Wow, another one less than a minute later! He might've saw me.

    Well, now it should be clear to everyone what I meant, and I wonder if anyone has an answer. :)
  12. I think I understand now. In your examples he is using "went" instead of "gone" in his speech.

    "I shoulda went sooner." is incorrect. The correct way would be, "I should have gone sooner." or "I should've gone sooner.".

    went vs. gone

    "He might've saw me." has the same error. It should be "might have seen me" or "might've seen me".

    Regarding whether it is common here in the US I would say that I hear that sort of verb disagreement? often but not so often that I would call it common. To me, it is similar to when someone uses a double negative like, "don't got nothing". I sometimes jokingly correct them or, more often, ignore it.

    Dialect-wise I think I would tend to say "should've" instead of "shoulda" although I understand it of course. I think I would usually write "should have" though. Especially somewhere like this where I know others may not know English as their first language.

    I was searching to see if I could find where someone might normally speak in Etho's way and was reminded of this English Quiz.
    ultiPig and 607 like this.
  13. Being from western canada I'm pretty sure I almost always speak in simple, though when writing I may use perfect a bit more.

    Based on my age, I would think its not a new thing
  14. Thanks, Pab! I had a feeling it might be very common, but apparently that's not the case, at least not around you.
    Pab10S likes this.
  15. just to be a nitpicker, that's a "past perfect with the past simple form in place of the past participle component" rather than "past simple instead of past perfect"

    probably this caused the confusion in the others that tried to reply before the examples were given.
    Pab10S and 607 like this.
  16. That is exactly what I tried to word here.
    And here.
    But thanks for helping out. :p
    Don't you live in a country with a lot of native speakers of English, by the way? In that case, you could answer the question. :)
  17. lol, I am neither from nor live in an English-native country

    sorry :D
    ultiPig and 607 like this.
  18. Okay.

    Using the ‘shoulda went sooner’ example, that is exactly how I talk. I don’t have the statistics to back it up, but I’d say that’s how most people in Northern England speak.

    Based on my limited time in Scotland I think that’s how they speak up there (in the Lowlands at least). Welsh people definitely speak like that too.

    My girlfriend and her family, with the exception of her dad (who comes from London), are from the Midlands. They all speak in the past perfect and she ‘corrects’ me when I ‘speak incorrectly’.

    However, I don’t think it’s a regional thing. Whenever I’ve been to the Midlands I hear the past simple being used more commonly. I think the difference amongst the people who use which in the UK, as with most things here, is actually class-based.

    I’m a working class man who attended a state-funded school and grew up in an urban council estate (government-owned houses for poor people); my dad was a school caretaker (janitor) and my mum is an assistant teacher (both minimum wage jobs). My girlfriend is a middle class woman who attended a private school and grew up in a leafy suburb (parents also owned their house); her dad is a high-ranking civil servant and her mum is a PhD-educated social worker and landlady.

    Working class people are more likely to speak in the past simple, and there happens to be a higher concentration of them in Northern England, Wales, and Scotland; middle and upper class people are more likely to speak in the past perfect, and there happens to be a higher concentration of them in the Midlands and Southern England.

    Entirely anecdotal but that’s my theory.
    607 likes this.
  19. Assuming you are now talking about what I'm talking about, which should, as Fred has pointed out, require different terminology than I originally used:
    Interesting! I wouldn't have been surprised if this was an American-only thing. What you describes makes sense to me. It might be comparable to how in the Netherlands, many people use the form 'correctly' used for the dative case in the plural 3rd person pronoun for the accusative case as well, and it is also commonly used for the nominative case (which would be like saying Them saw the house in English), even though in an environment where everyone is highly educated this is usually scoffed at (I had a pastor who always did this, though, so it definitely doesn't mean someone is unintelligent).

    I can already imagine all the corrections in middle/high schools...