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  1. Lenka's Avatar

    • Join Date: May 2004
    • Posts: 863
    #1

    present perfect

    I don't understand why present perfect tense (instead of past simple) was used in the following sentence:

    There was no meeting yesterday. It is said to have been called off because the manager of the company was arrested.

    It was called off in the past, wasn't it? In addition, the speaker used the word "yesterday"...

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Nov 2005
    • Posts: 57
    #2

    Re: present perfect

    I don't think it's a present perfect. I think it's more like a perfect infinitive.
    I studied that as a special passive pattern that you can use with some verbs (say, regard, consider, think, ...)
    E.g. People think that he is a foreign spy.
    He is thought to be a foreign spy.

    People thought that he was a foreign spy.
    He was thought to be a foreign spy.

    People think he was a foreign spy.
    He is thought to have been a foreign spy.

    (You write the passive of the main verb and add an infinitive corresponding the second). You use a simple infinitive if the tense of the main verb and the tense of the that-clause are the same. But if the former is present (People think) and the latter is past (that he was...) you must use a perfect infinitive to make the meaning clear.
    The sentence of your example, in the active, would be:
    - People say it was called off because ...
    I hope I managed to explain it more or less clearly. Did I?

  2. Lenka's Avatar

    • Join Date: May 2004
    • Posts: 863
    #3

    Re: present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by ana2005 View Post
    I don't think it's a present perfect. I think it's more like a perfect infinitive.
    I studied that as a special passive pattern that you can use with some verbs (say, regard, consider, think, ...)
    E.g. People think that he is a foreign spy.
    He is thought to be a foreign spy.
    People thought that he was a foreign spy.
    He was thought to be a foreign spy.
    People think he was a foreign spy.
    He is thought to have been a foreign spy.
    (You write the passive of the main verb and add an infinitive corresponding the second). You use a simple infinitive if the tense of the main verb and the tense of the that-clause are the same. But if the former is present (People think) and the latter is past (that he was...) you must use a perfect infinitive to make the meaning clear.
    The sentence of your example, in the active, would be:
    - People say it was called off because ...
    I hope I managed to explain it more or less clearly. Did I?
    Yes, you did explain it very well. Thank you!

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