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  1. suprunp's Avatar
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    #1

    It was two years since

    It was two years now since Mackintosh had been appointed Walker’s assistant.
    (W.S. Maugham; Mackintosh)

    Can I say: "It had been two years now since Mackintosh was appointed Walker's assistant."?

    Thanks.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: It was two years since

    I have little doubt that one could find examples of such usage, but 'had been appointed' is what one would expect.

  3. suprunp's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: It was two years since

    But when we're talking in present time we should say "It has been two years now since he was appointed Walker’s assistant". Am I right?

    Thanks.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: It was two years since

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    But when we're talking in present time we should say "It has been two years now since he was appointed Walker’s assistant". Am I right?
    We can, but not should. "It is X years since subject verb (past tense)" is acceptable.

  5. suprunp's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: It was two years since

    Thank you, 5jj.

    I've been trying to refresh my knowledge of this subject but I still don't quite understand why one would expect 'had been appointed' instead of 'was appointed'.
    It seems to me that the since-clause refers to a certain point of time rather than to a period of time.
    What am I missing here?

    Thanks.

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: It was two years since

    "Has been appointed" only really works when one is making a statement notifying people that an appointment has been made - probably in the very recent past.

    I am delighted to announce that Mr Jones has been appointed the new CEO of the company.

    Further on in the future from then, we would use:

    (Speaking now, six months after his appointment) It is six months since he was appointed CEO ...
    (Speaking now, six months after his appointment) It has been six months since he was appointed CEO ...
    (Speaking at some point later than six months after his appointment) He resigned in January 2011. It (January 2011) was (only) six months since he had been appointed CEO!

  7. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: It was two years since

    At the time, Maugham might have said to someone he was informing of the news, "Mackintosh has been appointed ..."

    Two years later, he might have said, "
    It has been/is two years now since Mackintosh was appointed ...."

    Some time after that, referring to the second time, he might have said, "It was/had been two years now since Mackintosh had been appointed."

    On subsequent occasions, he would have said the same as on the third. The limits of pre-pastness have been reached.


    ps. emsr2d beat me to it, but I'll leave my post.
    Last edited by 5jj; 11-Feb-2012 at 20:47. Reason: ps added

  8. suprunp's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: It was two years since

    Many thanks emsr2d2 and 5jj!

    May I ask you one small additional question?

    While reading 'A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language' I've noticed that in similar cases, when the whole period is in past time, 'the past perfective may be replaced by the simple past'.
    Is it possible to replace it here or is it better to write as Maugham did?

    Thanks.

  9. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: It was two years since

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    While reading 'A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language' I've noticed that in similar cases, when the whole period is in past time, 'the past perfective may be replaced by the simple past'.
    Is it possible to replace it here or is it better to write as Maugham did?.
    I thought I answered that in post #2.But, whether I did or not, the answer to your question is subjective. It's about style, not grammar.

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