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There are several reasons proposed for the collapse of the bridge.

Is this present simple tense or the present perfect tense? I thought it might be the latter since there is a retrospective aspect to the sentence. However, I am quite unsure.

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Perfect aspect needs a has auxiliary verb. You sentence has no has' so it cannot be present perfect. –  Roaring Fish Sep 28 '12 at 2:32
    
@RoaringFish It has not always been so. –  tchrist Sep 28 '12 at 2:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The main verb is are -- the Present Tense Third Person Plural form of be.

This is another reduced relative clause, with Whiz-Deletion operating, this time on the be of the Passive, rather than the be of the Progressive, like the question this morning. The original sentence was something like

  • There are several reasons which/that are/were proposed for the collapse of the bridge.

Whiz-deletion removes the boldfaced markers, since they are predictable (by native speakers, at least) and contribute nothing to the meaning, just the structure. This works fine in speech, where confusions can be cleared up immediately, but is not always the best strategy for written English.

(We won't talk about There-insertion in this sentence because it's irrelevant, OK?)

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Is There-insertion really irrelevant? I'm supposing it gets inserted in OP's sentence from an underlying “Several reasons were proposed...” –  FumbleFingers Sep 28 '12 at 3:06
    
That might well be true. In which case the relative clause might not be necessary for some speakers; for other speakers, it will be the derivation of choice. When you get down to the little details, and you can see individual relations between rules and predicates, there's also quite a lot of individual variation in preferred structures. –  John Lawler Sep 28 '12 at 15:20

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