Verb choice

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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Rustamsher
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Verb choice

Post by Rustamsher » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:14 pm

Hello,Alan!

I read the following on some forum:

'''He has been a successful manager in the past, that's why he got the job," he said.
I wonder if Pres. Perf. is optional there.
Since his successful managerial career is obviously in the past and we have no duration specified, why not go for:
1) “He was a successful manager in the past, that's why he got the job,"
2) “He had been a successful manager in the past, that's why he got the job,"(his being successful was prior to his
getting the job).
Any ideas?'

-- In response to the above, some native speaker wrote the following:
"Maybe it is optional, but I think present perfect is better in this context. Simple past and especially past perfect make it sound like at one point he was a successful manager and then he was no longer a successful manager. Present perfect seems to imply that it is more likely he will continue to be a successful manager in the future."

-- My question:
Is the sentence in bold grammatically correct and is the native speaker right about that?

Many thanks.

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Alan
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Re: Verb choice

Post by Alan » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:49 am

Yes to both!
Despite appearances, 'in the past' frequently co-occurs with present perfects rather than simple past tenses.
Take 'in the past' here as meaning 'during a time period extending from the past up to and including the present'.

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