It was found / it has been found

GeneD

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The Internet habits of approximately 800 teens have recently been studied by scientists, with some positive findings. It was found that sites like Facebook, and surfing the Internet may actually play an important role in a teenager's development. The study has shown that US teens who were interested in Japanese cartoons picked up the Japanese language through online discussion groups.

Myself, I would probably use the present perfect in the second sentence (It has been found). It seems to have the connection to the present... Or not?.. I don't know, frankly. :)

Is it possible to use the present perfect in that sentence?
 

tedmc

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The study was carried out over a period of time up to the present, hence the present perfect is used.
I think the same cannot be said of the finding which was probably a milestone within the study, hence the simple past tense is appropriate.
 

GoesStation

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The Internet habits of approximately 800 teens have recently been studied by scientists, with some positive findings. It was found that sites like Facebook, and surfing the Internet may actually play an important role in a teenager's development. The study has shown that US teens who were interested in Japanese cartoons picked up the Japanese language through online discussion groups.
<SNIP>
Is it possible to use the present perfect in that sentence?
It would be odd. The previous sentence established the time frame; now we're talking about what happened at that time.
 

Barb_D

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I wouldn't have used "have recently been studied" in the first place.
Either the scientists "have been studying" (and it continues) or the scientists "studied."

If you must use the passive voice (UGH) then "have recently been studying" or "was recently studied."

Is that an example of the American preference in the use of past simple over present perfect?

If you are the writer... consider active voice. "They found that sites like..."
 

GeneD

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Is that an example of the American preference in the use of past simple over present perfect?

That's an excerpt from the tests very likely made by non-native speakers of English and being used here in Belarus. Which variety of English it is (American or British) I can't tell, but I guess it's closer to British English.
 
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GeneD

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It would be odd. The previous sentence established the time frame; now we're talking about what happened at that time.
Could you please explain what you mean by "establishing the time frame"?

I've recalled an explanation from a grammar book which might shed some light on the problem: "We use the present perfect to give new information. But if we continue to talk about it, we normally use the past simple.
E.g.
a. Ow! I've burnt muself.
b. How did you do that?
a. I picked up a hot dish."

I'm not sure the explanation fits though. Did you mean this or something else?
 

GoesStation

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The hot dish example doesn't work for me because as an American English speaker, I'd use the simple past in both sentences.

Having reread the original text, I have to agree with Barb that it's in a passive style I wouldn't recommend emulating. It might be more useful to move on to some more fruitful territory than to learn how to reproduce that sort of writing.
 

GeneD

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I wouldn't have used "have recently been studied" in the first place.
Either the scientists "have been studying" (and it continues) or the scientists "studied."

I didn't think much about this before, but it's really interesting because the passive form for the present perfect continuous looks and sounds too heavy ("have recently been being studied"), and I can't recall I've ever seen it used in writing nor heard it in speech. Is that why the first sentence doesn't work for you? On one hand, the present perfect continuous would be preferable. On the other, it would look odd in its passive form. Do I see it right? And is that why you wrote the active form for the present perfect continuous in the following quote? :)

If you must use the passive voice (UGH) then "have recently been studying" or "was recently studied."

By the way, what "UGH" stands for? I've searched for the meaning of the acronym and found only "UnderGround Headquarters", "Ukulele Group of Hawaii" and the like. :)
 

Matthew Wai

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Could you please explain what you mean by "establishing the time frame"?
It has determined the time when it was found that ...
 

GeneD

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It has determined the time when it was found that ...
Oh, that's an everlasting problem for me, this present perfect tense... :-( I deliberately typed in bold most confusing parts of the text. I just can't understand why "it was found" but "the study has shown". To me, it means almost the same. Or should I think of it this way: "it was found in the past" and has no connection to the present, and "the study has shown" does have this connection?
 

Matthew Wai

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During the study (which took place in the past), it was found that ...
The study already finished (in the past), and the study has (in the present) shown that ...
 
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