I just read an article on Newyork times and I found a sentence having 2 present perfect verbs :

After more than a year of speculation, Mr. Draghi, the never-predictable head of the European Central Bank, has given global investors what they have clamored for, with an extra twist: an open-ended commitment to buy eurozone government bonds in bulk.

The first verb "has given" is used because the action happened in the past but has results in the present which is an open ended commitment

The second one " have clamored" is used because they clamored several time in the past up to the present

Am I right? if no, can anyone give a correct answer?

Thank you

  • 2
    Yes; 'have been clamouring' might be preferred. Jan 23, 2015 at 16:51
  • 2
    The first is the Hot News! sense of the present perfect.. Literally; this is a newspaper. The second use is a bit odd; normal would be what they been clamoring for, to indicate a continuous period of clamor. The non-use of the progressive seems to indicate sporadic past episodes of clamoring, rather than continuity. Jan 23, 2015 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


[Draghi] has given global investors what they have clamored for

This is grammatically correct. It is plausible to say that investors have clamoured for it, and Draghi has given it.

However, it does not tell us the order in which the events occurred. Perhaps investors wanted it briefly ten years ago and then lost interest; perhaps they wanted it a little after breakfast today, despite Draghi's announcement.

Because of the context, it's reasonably clear that's what is meant is:

Draghi has given global investors something which investors had been consistently requesting for a long period of time up to the point the announcement.

And it would be somewhat more precise and natural to say:

[Draghi] has given global investors what they had been clamouring for

(though that doesn't absolutely rule out the briefly 10 years ago)

or simply:

[Draghi] has given global investors what they were clamouring for

Stylistically, I suspect it may have been done for effect:

[Draghi] has given global investors what they have suffered for

In this case 'suffered' might imply either a single great act of suffering or bearing a burden for a long time, and the perfect tense would be a subtle understatement.

However, clamour is already slightly hyperbolic (most investors are not actually shouting loudly at Draghi), so trying at the same time do understatement with it leaves the sentence with an awkward quality to it.

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