When writing notifications for a website, for example: "Your password has been reset successfully", when do I use "has been" and when do I use "was" as in "Your password was reset successfully". I already considered the present perfect continuous and past continuous tense rule however it doesn't help me in this case.

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    possible duplicate of “Has been” vs. “was” – SEL Aug 8 '14 at 10:50
  • has been implies that the action occurred in the immediate past, in other words, it states what just happened; was is non-specific and does not necessarily relate to the immediate past. "Your password has been reset successfully." vs. "Your password was last changed [n] days ago." – Kris Aug 8 '14 at 15:13
  • See also the sister site English Language Learners. – Kris Aug 8 '14 at 15:14
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    @Sel I don't think this question is quite the same as the suggested duplicate, because that example was about a use that implies an ongoing state. – Barmar Aug 8 '14 at 20:50

My global English style guide, aptly named The Global English Style Guide, recommends using the simplest verb phrase possible. (pg. 39) That suggests "Your password was reset successfully" is the better choice.

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    Why use the past at all? Your password is now reset. – John Lawler Aug 8 '14 at 14:19
  • That wasn't the question asked. My MS Style Guide does recommend the present tense whenever possible. – Val Aug 8 '14 at 17:18
  • Who cares what the OQ thought they were asking about? More than half of the questions we get here are based on faulty assumptions and are confusingly stated. They need answers, yes, but in general restricting oneself to their original question as stated is not a helpful strategy; you know more than they do, after all, or you wouldn't be answering their question. Oh, and if MS stands for MicroSoft, you probly shouldn't rely on it much. – John Lawler Aug 8 '14 at 17:44
  • I imagine the person asking the question cares a great deal about his question. It was quite clear and quite specific. – Val Aug 8 '14 at 19:53

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