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    #1

    Past or present ?

    Can anyone tell me which of the following sentences is the correct one?
    Meeting you was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
    or
    Meeting you is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

    thanks

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    #2

    Re: Past or present ?

    Hi,

    "Meeting you is the best thing that has ever happened to me", is the correct choice because you are still pleased with the idea of having met the person you are talking about.

    Best wishes

    Teia


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    #3

    Re: Past or present ?

    Quote Originally Posted by miniwave View Post
    Can anyone tell me which of the following sentences is the correct one?
    Meeting you was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
    or
    Meeting you is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
    thanks
    Both are correct, MW and both are completely natural English. We may well tend to use 'is' more, for the reason Teia gave, but I'm not sure.

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    #4

    Re: Past or present ?

    Quote Originally Posted by teia_petrescu View Post
    Hi,
    "Meeting you is the best thing that has ever happened to me", is the correct choice because you are still pleased with the idea of having met the person you are talking about.
    Best wishes
    Teia
    Yes Teia - but. If I still know the person then the present tense is good, but think about someone who made a big difference to my life in the past but I have not met for a long time. Maybe a teacher? Then they would be someone who made a big difference to my life because of something they did, or something that happened with them, but in the past. The effect is still there, but the action was in the past.

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    #5

    Re: Past or present ?

    Hi

    Thank you both Riverkid and Davy for clarifying that.

    Best wishes


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    #6

    Re: Past or present ?

    Quote Originally Posted by miniwave View Post
    Can anyone tell me which of the following sentences is the correct one?
    Meeting you was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
    or
    Meeting you is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
    thanks
    Certain aspects of the present perfect are confusing, of that there is no doubt.

    After further thought, and I think we're all in pretty close agreement, let me speculate.

    This is a present perfect of experience. Paraphrased, it says,

    "Of all my life experiences, ..." .

    Then the choice between 'was' and 'is' depends upon speaker focus. When I envision the actual meeting, that special moment "on the beach" or elsewhere, my mind naturally tends towards 'was'.

    Viewed as the epitomy of "a best happening", brings it an 'is'.

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    #7

    Re: Past or present ?

    Thank you all for your replies.
    After reading your answers (each one several times...) and discussing it with three more people my conclusion is as the following:
    In both sentences (Meeting you was/ is the best thing that has ever happened to me) it is clear that the meeting event took place in the past.
    However this event is connected to the present, it was and still is (=present perfect) the best thing thatů.
    Therefore it should be changed to:
    Meeting you has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.
    It seems to me that the present perfect is necessary here with both verbs because both events connect the past with the present.
    The "meeting event"= was and still is
    The "happening event" by the expression ever (from a certain point in the past till now).
    Or may be I'm just totally ?


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    #8

    Re: Past or present ?

    Quote Originally Posted by miniwave View Post
    Thank you all for your replies.
    After reading your answers (each one several times...) and discussing it with three more people my conclusion is as the following:
    In both sentences (Meeting you was/ is the best thing that has ever happened to me) it is clear that the meeting event took place in the past.
    However this event is connected to the present, it was and still is (=present perfect) the best thing thatů.

    Maybe, if you think about it like this, MW, then it will make more sense. The differences are, to my mind, not to be found in the grammatical structure. We use language to effect meaning and emotion.

    1. Using "Meeting you has been the best thing ..." shows the greatest intensity, as the present perfect illustrates greater importance.

    2. Using "Meeting you is the best thing ..." shows a slightly lower level of intensity; the present tense shows it still is the "thing".

    3. Using "Meeting you was the best thing ..." shows the lowest level of intensity; focus on the particular past action of meeting.

    Now, of course, intonation can make any one of them seem much higher or lower.




    Therefore it should be changed to:
    Meeting you has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.
    It seems to me that the present perfect is necessary here with both verbs because both events connect the past with the present.


    But remember, and this is CRUCIAL to understanding this use of the present perfect. There is nothing compelling us to use this present perfect form. It relates to how intense we want to make our language.


    The "meeting event"= was and still is
    The "happening event" by the expression ever (from a certain point in the past till now).
    Or may be I'm just totally ?

    Not at all. That was a well thought out, excellent analysis.
    #

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