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"It occurred to me that no Korean has ever received the Nobel Prize in Literature." In this sentence, is "has received" right, rather than "had received"? Is it because "that" indicates continuation into the present? In other words, there's no Korean Nobel Prize recipient even now?

marked as duplicate by MetaEd, RegDwigнt Apr 8 '13 at 13:06

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The statement It occurred to me that no Korean has ever received the Nobel Prize in Literature refers to time up until now and affirms the undeniable failure of Korean writers in this respect. It occurred to me that no Korean had ever received the Nobel Prize in Literature, on the other hand, refers (or, at least, could refer) to some past time up until which Korean writers were deficient in respect of the prize, but allows the possibility that one or more Korean writers won the prize later.

  • 1
    Yes - we can get pernickety about this sort of thing: logically, when the idea comes to a person, he is reviewing the past (as at that moment), and logic would suggest that we need an indication in the verb tense that the 'not winning' is earlier than the cogitation. However, since Nobel Prizes are awarded once a year, one would say 'It occurred to me last week that no Korean has ever received the Nobel Prize in Literature.' The realisation needs the past tense (last week) but the not winning obviously still applies (at least until the next awards). – Edwin Ashworth Apr 8 '13 at 7:20
  • Does it really affirm "the undeniable failure of Korean writers"? Seems rather harsh. It could just as easily affirm the failure of the Nobel Prize judges. – user13141 Apr 8 '13 at 9:50
  • @onomatomaniak. I chose my words with care. Undeniable failure 'in this respect' = in respect of winning the Nobel Prize. – Barrie England Apr 8 '13 at 9:58

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