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    #1

    It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    It is nearly 30 years since Cambodians first began killing each other in earnest. (The Economist)

    I was wondering if changing 'is' to 'has been' is grammatically sound/better.

    Thanks

  1. tkacka15's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    I don't think so. The clause "It is nearly 30 years" marks the point "now" (on the time line) from which we look back at what has happened during that period of time, here "nearly 30 years". (See this)
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 08-Oct-2015 at 14:12. Reason: Deleting quote.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    I don't think "has been" is better but it is just as good.

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    #4

    Re: It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Tedwonny:

    You have already received the answer from two teachers. I only wanted to contribute two comments to your thread.

    *****

    1. It is only my personal choice to use "has been," especially in formal writing.

    2. Personally, I would prefer:

    "It has been nearly 30 years since _____ began killing one another in earnest."

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    #5

    Re: It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Personally, I would prefer:

    "It has been nearly 30 years since _____ began killing one another in earnest."

    Traditionally, each other refers to two people and one another refers to more than two people, but this distinction is disappearing in modern English.

    https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/pronouns/reciprocal-pronouns-each-other-and-one-another

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    #6

    Re: It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    I think it depends on whether they are still trying to kill one another.

    I said in another thread that we use present prefect for something that started in the past and has a connection to the present......so

    It has been nearly 30 years since _____ began killing one another in earnest.

    means they began 30 years ago and they have continued until the present or you can see the result of the killing in the present


    but


    It is nearly 30 years since Cambodians first began killing each other in earnest


    would be better if the civil war stopped or you cant see the result of the war in the present



    Another example

    'it rained last night' it began and stopped in the past no connection to the present

    'look at the wet pavement it must have rained last night' use present perfect because has connection to the present because we can see the result.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    Quote Originally Posted by davefretty View Post
    I said in another thread that we use present perfect for something that started in the past and has a connection to the present......so

    It has been nearly 30 years since _____ began killing one another in earnest.
    means they began 30 years ago and they have continued until the present or you can see the result of the killing in the present

    but

    It is nearly 30 years since Cambodians first began killing each other in earnest
    would be better if the civil war stopped or you cant see the result of the war in the present
    That's an interesting idea, but I think that both 'is' and 'has been' are possible in both your sentences.


    'it rained last night' it began and stopped in the past no connection to the present

    'look at the wet pavement it must have rained last night' use present perfect because has connection to the present because we can see the result.
    The problem with that is that 'must have rained last night' is a modal perfect, not a present perfect. We can use it for past events that have no connection with the present - Life must have been very hard in mediaeval times.

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    #8

    Re: It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    Fine, Dave, but we are talking about It has been/ is nearly 30 years since Cambodians first began killing each other in earnest in this thread. Both MikeNewYork (AmE speaker) and I (BrE speaker) feel that both has been and is are possible. Michael Swan, in Practical English Usage (2005.522,) says that is is more common in BrE, has been in AmE.

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    #9

    Re: It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    Yes you are right about the modal perfect and now I have thought about it you are right about both being possible.

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    #10

    Re: It has been / It is (from The Economist)

    Quote Originally Posted by davefretty View Post
    it must have rained last night
    The verb phrase "must have rained" is used for inferring a conclusion from the fact/facts. The phrase expresses the speaker's opinion about the certainty, probability or likelihood of something what happened before.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

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