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No classmate knew that Ken has decided to go abroad for a year.

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
Which sentence would be used?
(a) No classmate knew that Ken has decided to go abroad for a year.
(b) No classmate knew that Ken decided to go abroad for a year.
(c) No classmate knew that Ken had decided to go abroad for a year.

Thanks in advance.

Hirashin
 

joadbres

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All of them sound OK.
All of them are grammatically OK.
There is a slight difference between them, though. It pertains to how the time frame of the events described relate to the present time. Which one to use depends on the exact context (specifically, tense) of the surrounding sentences.
For example, (a) describes a past event (the classmates not knowing) of a matter which is applicable to the present time (as of the present time, Ken's decision has been made). In contrast, (c) describes a past event (the classmates not knowing) of a matter which was applicable to some point in time in the past, and may or may not be applicable now, in the present time.
 

Majestic

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A more natural alternative to all of the above would be; None of Ken's classmates knew that he had decided to go abroad for the year.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help, joadbres and Majestic.
A more natural alternative to all of the above would be; None of Ken's classmates knew that he had decided to go abroad for the year.
You changed "a year" into "the year". Why?
 

Julie.chan

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"The year" and "a year" have different meanings. "A year" is just describing a period of time (i.e. roughly 365 days). "The year" refers to a segment of time; the current calendar year or, in this case, the school year. Incidentally, a school year only lasts about 9 months (because of summer vacation).
 

Majestic

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Sorry Hirashin, it was a careless mistake on my part. Both are natural and I didn't have any particular intention in mind when I used "the year". But... since you asked, I would say.

"The year" to me represents the current, or impending year. If you are talking about the school year, it will mean the current, or perhaps the upcoming year (it should be obvious from the context).

"A year" sounds more indefinite. Ken's year abroad could start one month from now, or it could start many months from now. We don't know when Ken's year abroad will happen, all we know is that it will happen some time in the future.
 

hirashin

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Thank you, Julimaruchan and Majestic.
Would all of the sentences below sound OK?
(a) None of Ken's classmates knew that he has decided to go abroad for a year.
(b) None of Ken's classmates knew that he decided to go abroad for a year.
(c) None of Ken's classmates knew that he had decided to go abroad for a year.
 

Julie.chan

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Those are the same as the original sentences. The same meaning differences apply.

I would note that a situation calling for A would be rare. The only place I might sort of expect to see it is if someone (not Ken) said something to all of their classmates about Ken's abroad studies and it turned out to be news for everyone.

Even in that rare circumstance, people would be more likely to use a double-past tense despite the event being talked about being in the future: "No one new that Ken was going abroad."
 
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