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I had a story, from two days ago, till now; i.e, it just ended/solved.

Which tense, the present perfect or the past perfect should I use - and why?

  1. It has been a tortuous journey.
  2. It had been a tortuous journey.

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  • 1
    What's your question? – MusicLovingIndianGirl Nov 9 '15 at 9:36
  • Please read the title. – Daniel Springer Nov 9 '15 at 9:38
  • That's typo. Had you read the question, you would of easily picked it up. Thanks. – Daniel Springer Nov 9 '15 at 9:41
  • Of course it's a typo, but you explicitly told a user to look at the question title. I was pointing out that maybe they had :) – Mari-Lou A Nov 9 '15 at 10:09
  • @Mari-LouA got it. My bad. – Daniel Springer Nov 9 '15 at 10:13
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"It has been a tortuous journey", unless the journey took place before something else you wish to tell (e.g. "until we hit the highway, it had been a tortuous journey").

This is basic sequence of tenses (consecutio temporum in Latin). Event1 happens before Event2, and you're telling it in the present (call it Event3). Event2 has just happened (present perfect) or happened (simple past). Event1 had already happened (past perfect).

  • Ok. Any explanation that may help me or others in the future as per why that is so? – Daniel Springer Nov 9 '15 at 9:39
  • This is basic sequence of tenses (consecutio temporum in Latin). Event1 happens before Event2, and you're telling it in the present (call it Event3). Event2 has just happened (present perfect) or happened (simple past). Event1 had already happened (past perfect). – wismuthaft Nov 9 '15 at 9:43
  • Ok. All new to me :) . Please add that to the answer, and I'll mark it. – Daniel Springer Nov 9 '15 at 9:48
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    For a fuller explanation of tense choice: Event is still happening also uses (present perfect): 'It has been a tortuous journey, but we're nearly at our destination.' vs 'It has been a tortuous journey, but we can rest now it's over.' But your answer addresses OP's situation perfectly. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 9 '15 at 13:51
  • So if the story ended yesterday, I'd now say "it had been"? Or only if there is another relevant event after the story? – Daniel Springer Nov 10 '15 at 18:19
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Has been is present perfect continuous. It started in the past but is still going on.

Had been is past perfect. It started and ended in the past

So "it has been a tortuous journey" means it is still going on. "It had been a tortuous journey" means the journey is over.

  • I can't mark your answer up. I don't have enough rep, but thanks! – Daniel Springer Nov 9 '15 at 10:18
  • This is far too simplistic an answer. English tenses.com explains various usages of the present perfect. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 9 '15 at 12:26
  • @EdwinAshworth I guess I'm a simplistic person (whatever that means), because I think I understand it, and it helped. – Daniel Springer Nov 9 '15 at 13:40
  • @Dani Springer No; it's misleading. It is idiomatic to say 'It has been a tortuous journey.' when it has just finished, as well as when you're still on it. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 9 '15 at 13:45
  • So, to my question "1 or 2?, you are saying "X"? – Daniel Springer Nov 9 '15 at 13:46

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