How do you interpret this sentence?

English grammar and usage issues

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How do you interpret this sentence?

Unread postby wizard » 03 Jul 2010, 13:31

We were debating how to interpret this sentence:

I have served as human resources director for three firms, most recently ABC Company, where I was hired to create an HR department for a startup that had quickly grown to more than 150 employees.

Would you understand that he was hired AFTER the startup already had 150 employees, or was he hired and THEN the startup grew to 150 thanks to his efforts?

Thank you!
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Re: How do you interpret this sentence?

Unread postby Jo » 03 Jul 2010, 17:51

I would understand that he was hired AFTER the startup already had 150 employees. That is the function of the past perfect (had...grown) in this case.
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Re: How do you interpret this sentence?

Unread postby Lucy » 04 Jul 2010, 09:00

I agree with TN (as always!)
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Re: How do you interpret this sentence?

Unread postby jirkux » 04 Sep 2010, 12:01

I agree with Josef: When he was hired the company had already grown to 150 (and he had to look after them). That's the way I see it...
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Re: How do you interpret this sentence?

Unread postby cucullin » 14 Oct 2010, 21:51

He was employed after. When he joined the business had already grown to 150 employees and he was the man now looking after them.
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Re: How do you interpret this sentence?

Unread postby royalina » 25 Jan 2011, 08:23

I would understand that he was hired AFTER the startup already had 150 employees. .................
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Re: How do you interpret this sentence?

Unread postby amrifa » 03 Mar 2011, 16:09

From this sentence, I understand that the company had quickly grown to more than 150 employees before he had got there and was therefore needed in that job position to create that HR department. In this sentence, had is used in the past perfect which shows and suggests that it was something that happened in the past before he arrived and was employed. The startup growing had nothing to do with him or his efforts. His being hired was a result of a startup that had grown too large and needed to be managed (but I can see why this sentence would cause someone to read it a few times before fully understanding).
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Re: How do you interpret this sentence?

Unread postby TallMikeV » 03 Mar 2011, 16:13

It sounds that he was hired AFTER the startup already had 150 employees as well.

The use of the past perfect (Had grown) is there to express that something happened in the past, before somethign else in a nearer past.

In other words, it says "I was hired" which means this would be the closest past situation in the sentence. The past perfect tense ("had grown") puts emphasis on something prior to the closest past situation (the hiring). If the verb "grown" would've been in the perfect tense (has grown), then it would mean that the department would've expanded to 150 because of this newdirector. I hope it helps.
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