The sentence is: "These investigations have seen several officials arrested."

I'm not sure which tense I should use, the present perfect here seems more natural to me but I can't seem to find a rule that confirms it, maybe someone here can help me out.

Thanks in advance to whoever tells me the answer to this.

  • 1
    The use of perfect constructions is depends entirely on context; you're going to have to give us more than this. May 27, 2015 at 18:24
  • That's like asking how many words a sentence should have. The answer is: it depends.
    – Robusto
    May 27, 2015 at 18:53

2 Answers 2


If the investigations were all in the past, then I think you have to use the past, or distant, tense.

But if they are still going on, the present perfect describes the present state of the subject, and that would be fine.


Based solely on the sentence you provided, it difficult to tell you which tense to use. I would need to know the context.

However, I don't think that the choice of tense is your main issue here. It is incorrect to say "these investigations have seen..." because investigations are incapable of performing an action or having a feeling. I used to make this mistake a lot!! To correctly reword your sentence you could say, "as a result of these investigations, several officers were arrested." You could also say, "throughout these investigations, several officers have been arrested." These two example sentences also give you the option of past or present perfect tense. Determining which of the two sentences is better just depends on the context of what you are writing about and your personal preference.

I know that last part wasn't a response to the question you actually asked, but I used to make that same mistake all of the time and wanted to help!

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