I have a question.

Does this mean the consequence or the continuous state?

A half century past the beginning of the movement, it's been invested with an aura of mystique.

I think it can be both... What is your take?

Thank you.

  • I would say it means that a continuous state is the consequence of the action. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 26 '13 at 7:37

To my eye this is a resultative present perfect; but it is very easy to see why you might think it is a continuative present perfect:

  • The verb here is ambiguous. Has been invested may be parsed as either the present perfect passive of the eventive verb INVEST or as the present perfect of the stative verb BE + the present participle of INVEST employed as an adjective.

  • At first glance, the temporal expression which introduces the sentence looks like it's defining just such a duration as a continuative perfect requires:

    A half century past the beginning of the movement

    But in fact what this defines is not a duration but a location, a single point: now.

    The movement has now been invested with an aura of mystique.

The inferences you may draw are that:

The movement, at its beginning, did not have an aura of mystique.
At some later point it was invested with an aura of mystique.
As a result it now possesses an aura of mystique.

That's a classic resultative perfect:

(2)a. Resultative: There is one event of the type denoted by the base sentence in the interval terminating at the evaluation point, and its direct result holds at this point.
  b. Policeman (on road): Can I see your license please. Driver: I’ve left it at home.
  Anita Mittwoch, "The English Resultative perfect and its relationship to the Experiential perfect and the simple past tense", *Linguistics & Philosophy (2008) 31:324 .

  • The dialogue in the last quote feels like UK usage; I'd use the simple past there if I were the driver. And "continuative" is a little too much like "continuous" to be a helpful term for the perfect. I prefer McCawley's terms for the four senses of the perfect construction: Universal, Existential, Stative/Resultative, and Hot News! – John Lawler Aug 26 '13 at 16:42
  • @JohnLawler I've seen a variety of terms for Universal, Existential and Stative, none of which are entirely satisfactory. As for Hot News!, a couple of my sources state that McCawley withdrew it in 1981 (on the grounds that it's a subset of the Existential) in an article to which I don't have access: 'Notes in the English present perfect', Australian Journal of Linguistics 1.81-90. A pity, since that's the only one of McCawley's terms I thought entirely apt. – StoneyB Aug 26 '13 at 17:09
  • @JohnLawler I'd probably use the present perfect here, but I was raised by English teachers. – StoneyB Aug 26 '13 at 17:11

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