they have tried to reach the top, but nobody has ever succeeded

GeneD

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This mountain has never been climbed by anyone. Several mountaineers have tried to reach the top, but nobody has ever succeeded. The climb is extremely difficult and many people have died trying to reach the summit.

Why is the present perfect used in the second and the third sentences? The mountaineers tried to reach the summit in the past, and at the time of speaking they weren't alive. Is the following (my version) possible? And if so, what are the differencies in meaning?

This mountain has never been climbed by anyone. Several mountaineers tried to reach the top, but nobody ever succeeded. The climb is extremely difficult and many people have died trying to reach the summit.

Well, I haven't changed the third sentence for some reason. I'm not sure, honestly, about this sentence even more. It's about the present, and at the same time... they died in the past, maybe many years ago. I'm confused, really...
 

Matthew Wai

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Over the years, several mountaineers have tried to reach the top, but nobody has ever succeeded.

I think the present perfect is used because it refers to a period from the past to the present, i.e. 'over the years'.
 

GoesStation

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The second version of the passage doesn't work. In the writer's time-frame, the current condition is that all of the actions are in the past. The present perfect expresses this nuance.
 

Rover_KE

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To me, the present perfect implies that other people are going to come along and try. The past tense suggests everybody has given up for ever.
 

Tdol

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Until someone makes it to the top, the process is unfinished. The present perfect suggests this. I'd only use the past if people had given up trying.
 

teechar

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or if the mountain doesn't exist any more.
 

GeneD

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Thank you all for your explanations. I think I understand why the present perfect is used there. But what a beautifully tricky exercise that was for me! Do you know where I could find something similar on the present perfect vs past simple: some book or any exercises online, maybe?
 
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GoesStation

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Thank you all for your explanations. I think I've understood why there the present perfect is used. But what a beautifully tricky exercise that was for me! Do you know where I could find something similar on the present perfect vs past simple: some book or any exercises online, maybe?

I don't know where to find more exercises but I can tell you that you should have used the present in your second sentence. :)
 

GeneD

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I don't know where to find more exercises but I can tell you that you should have used the present in your second sentence. :)
You probably meant in the third: what a beautifully tricky exercise that was for me. I should have said has been, obviously. :-D
 

emsr2d2

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No. GS meant exactly what he/she said. Your second sentence should have been "Now I understand why the present perfect is used there". Note the correct position of the word "there" in that sentence.

The use of "was" in the third sentence was correct. Also, if you had followed GeneD's advice for your third sentence, you should have changed it to "What a beautifully tricky sentence that is for me" - the advice was to use the present, not the present perfect.
 
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GeneD

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No. GS meant exactly what he/she said. Your second sentence should have bee "Now I understand why the present perfect is used there". Note the correct position of the word "there" in that sentence.

The use of "was" in the third sentence was correct. Also, if you had followed GS's advice for your third sentence, you should have changed it to "What a beautifully tricky sentence that is for me" - the advice was to use the present, not the present perfect.

Thanks for the clarifications. It's interesting because I always say when something becomes clear to me that I've got it or I've understood. Do you mean that it's ok to say I've got it but not I've understood; it should be I understand instead?

I didn't know that the present means exactly the present simple. I thought it could be any present tense (continuous, simple or perfect). Now I understand, thank you.
 

emsr2d2

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"Now I've got it" is correct. "I've got it" means "I have got it" - the present tense form of the verb "to have got" (which means "to have"). The past simple is "I had it" and the present perfect is "I have had it". (Note that neither of those work when you're talking about understanding something.)

"Now I understand" is correct.
 

Matthew Wai

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I take it to mean 'Previously I did not understand, but now I do.'
 
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