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    #1

    is/was/has been - what to choose?

    Hi, everyone

    This is the first time I have posted a question here. So if I do something wrong, please let me know.
    So, I have been learning English grammar for a long time but still I haven't a clear vision of using some constructions and still I make some mistakes. This may happen because I am practising a self-education or I am just a bad student. I would be very gratefull for answering next questions.

    Say we have next situations:

    1) Now I am writing an email to my friend. And yesterday he asked me to send him some pdf documents that I had. So I am writing :
    "
    Hi, Jeff
    it was not so easy to find the documents you asked me. But I managed to do that. The file \is\was\has been\ attached to the email.
    Regards,
    ....
    "

    2) Yesterday my friend gave me an article to read. I read it today in the morning. Now it is evening and I am calling to the friend:
    "
    Hi, Jeff. The article /is/was/has been/ read (by me).
    "

    3) Five minutes ago my friend gave me an article to read. Now I have read it. I can say:
    "
    Jeff, the article /is/was/has been/ read (by me).
    "

    4) Yesterday when I got home I saw that the windows in my room \was\had been\ closed.

    Please, show me the right way of handling these cases.
    P.S. And one more thing. Is it right to use "by someone" while saying something like "it is done by me\them\..." or something similar.

  1. Grumpy's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: is/was/has been - what to choose?

    This is how I would phrase the body of each email [with alternatives in brackets]:

    1. It was not very easy [was quite difficult] to find the documents you asked me about, but I managed to do it. I have attached the file to this email [The file is attached to this email].

    2. I have read the article. [If you really want to use your phraseology (which sounds impersonal to a native English speaker), then write it as "the article has been read']

    3. Exactly the same as for 2. above. The timescale is irrelevant.

    4. This is a slightly more difficult one, raising the question of who closed the windows, and when. You could write either "Yesterday, when I got home, I saw that the windows in my room were [not "was", because windows are plural] closed", or "...had been closed".
    Using "were" is quite neutral, and leaves the matter of who closed the windows open: either yourself, before you left; or someone else, after you had left your home.
    Using "had been closed" gives more of an impression that someone other than you had closed the windows after you had left home.

    PS. It is fine to use "by someone", as in "It was done [or "It is being done"] by someone".
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: is/was/has been - what to choose?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
    This is how I would phrase the body of each email [with alternatives in brackets]:

    1. It was not very easy [was quite difficult] to find the documents you asked me about, but I managed to do it. I have attached the file to this email [The file is attached to this email].

    2. I have read the article. [If you really want to use your phraseology (which sounds impersonal to a native English speaker), then write it as "the article has been read']

    3. Exactly the same as for 2. above. The timescale is irrelevant.

    4. This is a slightly more difficult one, raising the question of who closed the windows, and when. You could write either "Yesterday, when I got home, I saw that the windows in my room were [not "was", because windows are plural] closed", or "...had been closed".
    Using "were" is quite neutral, and leaves the matter of who closed the windows open: either yourself, before you left; or someone else, after you had left your home.
    Using "had been closed" gives more of an impression that someone other than you had closed the windows after you had left home.

    PS. It is fine to use "by someone", as in "It was done [or "It is being done"] by someone".
    Thanks for your answer. It's very helpfull. As I understand now, we say

    that "something is done"
    when we talk about the state of an object (in this case we just want to say about the condition of this object. We don't want to explain how we did it ),

    and that "something has been done"
    when we talk about results of some process (I mean when we want to emphasize that there was an action before, maybe a long action or some kind of process)

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