no sooner did you/do you

salvia

Senior Member
español- españa
Hi everybody!

This is a grammar questions related to tenses after "no sooner".
I know that when talking about past events, Past Perfect is normally used after "no sooner", but can we use a present simple after it when talking about things that are always true?

For example, would this sentence be correct:
"No sooner DO you set foot in this city than you realise how welcoming it is" ?

Thanks a lot!
 
  • sunrise25

    Banned
    Argentina
    No.

    No sooner is only used with the past perfect in the sentence that starts with no sooner, and the past simple tense in the next sentence.

    No sooner had you set foot in this city than you realized/realised how welcoming it was.
     

    mhp

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi everybody!

    This is a grammar questions related to tenses after "no sooner".
    I know that when talking about past events, Past Perfect is normally used after "no sooner", but can we use a present simple after it when talking about things that are always true?

    For example, would this sentence be correct:
    "No sooner DO you set foot in this city than you realise (realize) how welcoming it is" ?

    Thanks a lot!

    Your example looks fine to me.
     

    sunrise25

    Banned
    Argentina
    Your example looks fine to me.

    No, that´s not the way it works with no sooner. You can only use either the past perfect or the simple past, but never the present tense. It´s wrong to use no sooner with the present tense.
     

    mhp

    Senior Member
    American English
    No, that´s not the way it works with no sooner. You can only use either the past perfect or the simple past, but never the present tense. I´t´s wrong to use no sooner with the present tense.
    As I said, it sounds fine to me and as far as I know it is a perfectly valid construction:

    From my Oxford dictionary:
    no sooner do you give him a toy than he breaks it
    (le regalas un juguete y enseguida lo rompe)
     

    sunrise25

    Banned
    Argentina
    As I said, it sounds fine to me and as far as I know it is a perfectly fine construction:

    From my Oxford dictionary:
    no sooner do you give him a toy than he breaks it
    (le regalas un juguete y enseguida lo rompe)


    When you say no sooner than you state that something happens before another action .

    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1535_questionanswer/page61.shtml
    http://www.bartleby.com/64/C003/0216.html

    Quote from: BBC:CO:UK/World service/learning English. "My question is about ‘no sooner’ and ‘than’ requiring the semi-inversion. Most of those sentences sound like 'no sooner came John to the station than the train arrived'. And my question is, how can I make two sentences of this one sentence, in order to understand better the way it functions?


    We need to be clear what happened first. Does it mean, the train came in and then me, or I came in and right after me the train? Well, my experience is actually that I arrive at the station, and then the train doesn’t come in for hours.

    But, to answer your question, if I say “no sooner had I arrived at the station than the train came in”, it means, I came in, and right after me the train. I got there first… just! I’ll give you another couple of examples:

    “No sooner had I put the phone down than it rang again”.

    “No sooner had I finished the meal than I started feeling hungry again”.

    It’s actually a rather literary construction. I’d expect to read it, maybe write it, but I probably wouldn’t say it. Instead I think I’d say something like this:

    “The train came in just after I got to the station”, or “ had only just got to the station when the train came in”…or something like that."

    That´s the the purpose of using the structure no sooner than , a literary structure built to express that between two actions, there is one that happens first. However, when you use no sooner with the present time, you are not really using the structure no sooner in the way is properly meant for.
     

    sunrise25

    Banned
    Argentina
    What question?

    I really think you are making this a lot more complicated than what it is.

    I was just quoting a couple of examples to state my point of view, that is, to make myself understood. In other words, I was naming a few examples to get my message across.
     

    IxOhOxI

    Member
    Thai
    In fact, 'no sooner' can also be used in the present simple form.

    "No sooner DO you set foot in this city than you realise how welcoming it is"
    This sentence is correct.

    -No sooner does he finish the detective story, than he turns to the audiences and speaks that the man is a criminal.-
     

    MARIENNA_966

    New Member
    English-Spanish
    As far as I know,

    sentences of this kind:

    "No sooner does he finish the detective story, than he turns to the audiences and speaks that the man is a criminal" are perfectly correct, to express something that usually occurs or when we use narrative present.
     

    iskndarbey

    Senior Member
    US, English
    No.

    No sooner is only used with the past perfect in the sentence that starts with no sooner, and the past simple tense in the next sentence.

    No sooner had you set foot in this city than you realized/realised how welcoming it was.

    You're wrong. The two sentences have different meanings, but each is perfectly grammatical.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The present simple can be used with "no sooner".

    One use of this is to express exasperation: "No sooner do I promise to wash the car than you go and wash it yourself!" This could be a complaint about habitual, repeated, behaviour (something that is "always true") or it could be a complaint about one very recent occasion.

    A car magazine might say "No sooner do you climb inside this car than you feel as if you have known it for years." The "you" here means the reader, any reader, so the words are supposedly "always true".

    I have no objection to the original sentence (post #1): "No sooner do you set foot in this city than you realise how welcoming it is."
     
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    jdprov31

    Member
    USA / English
    I also agree that "no sooner" may be used with the present simple. I have heard it and read it used both ways, and it does not sound strange either way. I could even imagine it being used in future.

    "You just watch . . .no sooner will I mention Sara's name to him than he will start smiling."
     

    MARIENNA_966

    New Member
    English-Spanish
    Thank you sound shift,

    That's the point: exasperation

    In sentences like this one:

    no sooner do you give him a toy than he breaks it!! (posted by mhp, from his Oxford dictionary) just a couple of exclamation marks and accurate tone and.. you've got it!!.

    CONCLUSION:

    The present simple can be used with "no sooner".
     

    page

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi there,
    I have another question. Could you use other tenses? For example, "As soon as you finish the meeting, call me." Could I write this sentence using no sooner. "No sooner you have finished the meeting than you call me??"
     

    gvergara

    Senior Member
    Castellano (variedad chilensis)
    Hi,

    I don't think that'd sound natural. The thing here is the imperative, which can not be expressed using the No sooner ... than... structure. Wait on antive speakers' answers though ;)
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Hi there,
    I have another question. Could you use other tenses? For example, "As soon as you finish the meeting, call me." Could I write this sentence using no sooner. "No sooner you have finished the meeting than you call me??"
    That does not work.

    "No sooner have you finished the meeting than you call me" is possible (remember the obligatory inversion), but only with indicative "you call".

    EDIT: I added the "iv" in "indicative".
     
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