I'm not a native English speaker, and yesterday I entered a [short] debate with a French guy (again, not native English speaker) who insisted that "the task was scheduled" is not valid from a grammatical point-of-view, and "the task has been scheduled" should have been used instead.

He was making the point that in French, translating the words separately gives an expression that doesn't follow proper grammar. To this I replied that grammar rules from one language rarely apply to other foreign languages.

To me, both cases seem correct, especially taking into account we're not writing historical documents, but comments in software code :) Am I wrong? That is, "the task was scheduled" is a wrong construction in English?

Thank you for your help, Adrian

  • This may depend on the context.
    – hjjg200
    Oct 9 '14 at 13:59

The short answer is that both are correct. "The task was scheduled" is a perfectly grammatical sentence in English.

With this sort of construction, there are a couple different ways to analyze it. My opinion is that this is simply the passive voice ("We scheduled the task" would be an active-voice version of this sentence). Passive-voice usage is used often in English (like just there!), and it follows the same format as your sentence.

If you'd like further information, check out the answer to this question, which explores the different uses of "to be" in pretty exhaustive detail.

Hope this helps!

  • 2
    Thank you for the reply, it confirms my initial guess ;) Yes, we use a lot of passive-voice constructions within the software code (it doesn't feel appropriate to use the active-voice for actions that are performed usually automatically by the software). Oct 9 '14 at 14:32

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