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I am not sure if the Past Simple and Present Perfect tenses in the second part of the sentence are used correctly:

Surely, we can experiment with various styles, combine genres and produce eclectic output, but let us face the truth: the strategy was exploited so frequently before, that it has long lost its originality.

I often have these doubts when it comes to using PS and PP in one sentence.

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Looks so on first blush [though I spot one thing style-guides differ on, but that doesn't make it wrong per se], but if you could explain what makes you doubt it, then a more useful answer might examine that aspect in detail. I also suspect this will be voted closed as a mere proof-reading question if you don't add such detail to your question. –  Jon Hanna Jan 20 '13 at 14:47
    
My off-the-cuff reaction is that "was exploited" should be changed to "has been exploited". Can't say why, though. –  jyc23 Jan 20 '13 at 22:53
    
Change it to "the strategy has been so frequently exploited before that it lost its originality long ago" and it's fine. When in doubt, recast. –  user21497 Jan 20 '13 at 23:48

3 Answers 3

Okay, so it's the tenses that have you confused. Lets first break it into the clauses that use the past and that which use the present, check each of them, and then check that the combination works.

Surely, we can experiment with various styles, combine genres and produce eclectic output, but let us face the truth:

All in the simple present. There's a change to the imperative mood, but that's fine, and the rest seems straight-forwardly correct.

... the strategy was exploited so frequently before, that it has long lost its originality.

Past ("was exploited") followed by present perfect ("has...lost") to describe something started in the past and continuing into the present. The flow from one to the other is clear and reasonable, the past progressive says what has happened over a period in the past, and the present perfect describes the consequence, in clearly separate clauses joined using that. Again, this is fine.

These two are joined by a colon. That's fine, they could be independent sentences, but the colon expresses how one follows from the other.

And here, that degree of independence allows the combination of very different tenses. So fine again.

The only objections I can think that people might make are:

Splitting the present perfect ("has long lost"). Some people object to this. It's a generalisation of objecting to split infinitives, and even sillier. It's the sort of objection where the people who make it will still do it themselves, because they don't really believe it, they just worry about it. So, while I know such people are out there, I don't agree with them in the slightest.

Lower-case letter after the colon. Some people will say that you should always capitalise after a colon. Some people will say you should never capitalise after a colon unless it's a quotation or more than one sentence. APA would say it was wrong here, CMS would say it was correct (it allows either). When we have such disagreements we can safely say it's grammatically correct, just not to some people's style.

So, all in all, I don't find anything wrong with it.

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Was exploited isn't 'past progressive', Jon. It's a passive construction in the past tense. An oversight? –  Barrie England Jan 20 '13 at 15:34
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@BarrieEngland a muddle, more than an oversight. –  Jon Hanna Jan 20 '13 at 15:45
    
Downvoter care to comment? –  Jon Hanna Jan 20 '13 at 22:44
    
They never do, unfortunately. There ought to be a law. –  Barrie England Jan 21 '13 at 7:32
    
@BarrieEngland irritating on the rest of SE, but ironic here. If someone can't articulate their objection to the benefit of those reading the page, maybe they aren't objecting from a sound position on the subject. –  Jon Hanna Jan 21 '13 at 10:13

There is no alternative to the present perfect construction in the final verb of the sentence, at least in British English. The writer is referring to a past event that has current relevance. The only question is over the form of the preceding verb, exploit. The past tense, was exploited, locates the exploitation, naturally enough, in the past, with the implication that it no longer continues. If that is the writer’s meaning, then the past tense serves the purpose perfectly well. The present perfect construction, has been exploited, could probably be read in the same way, but it is also open to the interpretation that the exploitation may not quite have come to an end. The strategy has been exploited so frequently before could readily be followed by and may continue to be so exploited. The strategy was exploited so frequently before would not allow such an addition.

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"...the strategy was exploited so frequently before, that it has long lost its originality."

(1) The comma is incorrect and unnecessary.

(2) "...the strategy was exploited so frequently before that it had long since lost its originality" is correct.

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