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  1. Junior Member
    Student or Learner

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 90
    #1

    Smile to be or to have been

    thanks first.

    here is the question.

    1. Napoleon is universally acknowledged to be one of the greatest of generals.

    2. Napoleon is universally acknowledged to have been one of the greatest of generals.

    Actually which one is correct? or Both of them are correct?
    it is quite confusing here.

    first sentence seems correct because Napoleon is still great at present. we cannot say he is not great just because he is a past person.

    However, second sentence also appears correct because he is a general in the past, now he is a dead man.

    it really beats my brain.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 25,629
    #2

    Re: to be or to have been

    Quote Originally Posted by kl004535 View Post
    thanks first.

    here is the question.

    1. Napoleon is universally acknowledged to be one of the greatest of generals.

    2. Napoleon is universally acknowledged to have been one of the greatest of generals.

    Actually which one is correct? or Both of them are correct?
    it is quite confusing here.

    first sentence seems correct because Napoleon is still great at present. we cannot say he is not great just because he is a past person.

    However, second sentence also appears correct because he is a general in the past, now he is a dead man.

    it really beats my brain.
    The present perfect, 'to have been' is better here; because Napoleon is no longer alive the present tense is not appropriate, and because he is still considered as one of the best generals who ever lived, the simple past is not appropriate. For these reasons the present perfect is, well, perfect in this situation.

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