English-tenses

Hello I have key answers for the following tasks but I would like a native speaker to explain to me the uses of tenses here.The students have to put past tenses here. I am especially confused with the sentence beginning with The vases, which.... isn't it a rule when we see a year in the sentence which a year before 2011 of course, that we put Past Simple? The answer says Past Perfect.I am confused! Can someone fill it in and explain?

The three vases, which_____________ (produced) during the quing dynasty in the 17th century, ____________(stand) at the windowsill at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge for forty tears. Last Thursday they ___________ (smashed) into a million pieces. The vases, which _________(donated) in 1948, ______(be) the museum’s best known pieces.

The Fitzwilliam _______(decided) not to identify the man who _______(caused) the disaster. ‘It was a most unfortunate and regrettable accident,’ museum director Duncan Robinson said, ‘but we are gled that the visitor ______ seriously ______(not injure).

The photograph of the accident _____(take) by another visitor, Steve Baxter. ‘We _____/watched) the man fall as if in slow motion. He _______(fly) thought the air.

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  1. The three vases, which had been produced during the Qing dynasty in the 17th century, stood at the windowsill at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge for forty tears.

    I'd say that the past perfect is best here, since it indicates an action completed before another action in the past.

    An interesting variant might be

    The three vases, which were produced during the Qing dynasty in the 17th century, had stood at the windowsill at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge for forty tears.

    Here, it seems better to use the simple past, since we are now talking about a characteristic of the vases, but mainly describing the fact that they are now finished standing there, and have presumably been moved elsewhere.

    In fact, given the context of the next two sentences, I'd pick this version, because we now go on to say

    Last Thursday they were smashed into a million pieces. The vases, which were donated in 1948, had become the museum’s best known pieces.

    The Fitzwilliam has decided not to identify the man who caused the disaster. ‘It was a most unfortunate and regrettable accident,’ museum director Duncan Robinson said, ‘but we are glad that the visitor was seriously injured.

    The photograph of the accident was taken by another visitor, Steve Baxter. ‘We watched the man fall as if in slow motion. He flew through the air.

    Just a nitpick.

    The vases, which were donated in 1948, had become the museum’s best known pieces.

    ought really to be "most well-known pieces."

    The adjective is "well-known". If you say best known, then the adjective is "known" and "best known" would indicate that of the known pieces, these were the best.

    Admittedly, this usage has become rather sloppy in recent years.

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  2. oops. make that "was not seriously injured." :-) (maybe)

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  3. thank you :) much clearer now ;)

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  4. "The vases, which were donated in 1948, had become the museum’s best known pieces.

    ought really to be "most well-known pieces." <~~This is incorrect.

    The adjective is "well-known".<~~This is incorrect. If you say best known, then the adjective is "known" and "best known" would indicate that of the known pieces, these were the best. <~~This is incorrect.

    The word "well" is an adverb, not an adjective, and there should be no hyphen between it and the adjective it modifies (known).

    In addition "most well" is a superlative form of the adverb "good" -- and "best" is also a superlative form of "good." So you can use either "best known" or "most well known," but without the hyphen

    You can study up about all this here:
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjectives.htm#superlative

    You can also find many other explanations of grammar and usage by means of this index:
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index2.htm

    And I suggest you also read up on sequence of tenses!!

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    Writeacher
  5. Your original question asked about tenses. I don't see that that is covered specifically above.

    Present Tense = what is happening now. There are usually 3 English cues for this tense: I walk (example) / I DO walk / I AM walkING.

    Present Perfect Tense = the helping verb (auxiliary) will be have/has in some form: I have walkED (with the Past Participle), he has walked or the contraction: I've walked / he's walked

    Past Perfect: I HAD walked / he HAD walked

    Simple Past OR Past Simple: concentrates on one of the 3 English meanings for the Present Tense (do/does): I DID walk / I walkED

    Sra (aka Mme)

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  6. Thank you, Sra. Steve did a half-way job on answering about tenses! I'm glad you explained the different tenses clearly.

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    Writeacher

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