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Joined: March 9, 2011
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The reason why I find past perfect (had tied) out of place, is precisely because it all happened within seconds, which suggests successive actions.
"within seconds" =after only a few seconds; and I read it: something that is/was yet to come, as opposed to something that had already happened in a specific moment in our past prior to another activity in the past, which is clearly distinguished at the beginning:

“Berry explained that he had been held up by a fallen tree.”
And that’s the reason our guy “had been waiting for him for over an hour.”

"was wearing enormous boots" is simply past continuous = description and there’s no possibility to use a simple tense form here. (note that if you use past perfect continuous, you move the whole event even back in the past)

“was pulling” – maybe it’s the sentence structure (I have the feeling that something is missing), but I don’t get it, even though I’m aware of the fact that pulling the car out of the mud is a process.

the sentence:

...and there was Berry, wearing his enormous boots and pulling the car...

sounds natural, and takes you to the moment itself, so that you see Berry helping our guy solve his car problems.

Berry, who was wearing enormous rubber boots, tied a rope to the front bumper of the car and within seconds was pulling it out with a tractor.

I guess it's just how my brain is wired. :)
Although I do understand I cannot find the reasons to justify, or explain, and that's (as scyllacat put it) really annoying.


pebbles March 10, 2011, 5:41pm

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The text starts with a guy calling another guy (Barry) to come and help him with a car. In the given example Barry is helping the guy:

I braked to avoid hitting it and the car skidded out of control on the water and mud on the road and into the ditch. I managed to get out through the window. The problem now was that the car was filling up with water and mud. Within seconds Berry, who was wearing enormous rubber boots, had tied a rope to the front bumper of the car and was pulling it out with a tractor.

pebbles March 9, 2011, 8:04am

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