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    #1

    Tense switch

    These sentences are from the Barron's SAT writing workbook:

    After the book was published, the author has been criticized for plagiarizing passages from other books.

    After the book was published, the author was criticized for plagiarizing passages from other books.

    The book says that the latter is correct because the first one has an incorrect tense switch. However, I am very confused, since I read that when two actions occur at the same time in the past, they both use the same past tense. Moreover, if two actions occurred in the past at different times then the earlier will be in the past perfect form, right? Here the "the publishing" is one action and "the criticism" is the other action, but the publishing happened before the criticism so doesn't that make the latter sentence incorrect? Shouldn't the latter sentence be as follows:

    "After the book had been published, the author was criticized for plagiarizing passages from other books."

    I feel like there is a flaw in my understanding of tenses. Help?

    Thank you!

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Tense switch

    Your understanding is correct. The past perfect tense is often used to stage the sequence of two past events. In your sentence, however, the word "after" also does that. That means that the past perfect is not needed, but it is also correct.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Tense switch

    I can go with present perfect with "Since" ("Since the book was published, the author has been...")

    But "After the book was published" seem to set a clear time in the past and we use simple past with clear past time references.

    I can't say it's correct to use "has been."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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