I've got one correct and one incorrect sentence. I don't understand why I cannot say the first sentence as there is only a change in adjectives. One has "set" instead of "closed".

This record has been set by Rod Laver until now. (incorrect)

The bridge has been closed until now. (correct)

  • 3
    "This record has been held by Rod Laver until now." – Peter Shor Jan 9 '16 at 18:07
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    "Set" as in "set a record" is a punctual verb: it is what happens at the moment when a new record is established. It is not used duratively ("hold" would be normal for this, as Peter Shor says). "Close" is also a punctual verb, but "closed" denotes a state, whereas "set" does not (in this sense: it can do in other senses, as "the concrete has set"). – Colin Fine Jan 9 '16 at 18:53
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    The present perfect "has been" speaks simultaneously of the past and present. The bridge was closed, and the bridge is closed, that is "until now." The same can't be said for Rod Laver. Rod Laver did set the record, but does he set the record? No, he doesn't. He may have held the record until now, but he doesn't set it until now. That makes no sense. – Benjamin Harman Jan 9 '16 at 19:32
  • @ColinFine This is what I find extremely difficult. How can I recognize that set is not used duratively but the hold is? – TH92 Jan 9 '16 at 19:32
  • @TH92: I don't know. I think it is just something you have to learn for each (meaning of) each verb. – Colin Fine Jan 9 '16 at 19:39

The first example

This record has been set by Rod Laver until now.

is not actually ungrammatical -- it just describes peculiar circumstances. Suppose Laver set a new record every year throughout the history of the sport, say for example the number of tournaments won on clay in one year, surpassing his own previous performance each year, until the current year, when for the first time, no new record was set, or someone else bested Laver's previous record:

Since tennis began, Rod Laver won the most clay tournaments each year, and in fact won a greater number of clay tournaments each of those years than he had won the previous year, until this year.

The second example is simpler, since it doesn't have to be interpreted as a passive construction:

The bridge has been closed until now.

"Closed" can be an adjective describing the state of the bridge which endured from some time long ago up until the present, when the bridge was opened.

(I think this is essentially what Benjamin Harman said above in a comment.)


Both examples are unnecessarily awkward.

"This record has been set by Rod Laver until now"

might be better expressed by saying, for instance,

"[Rod Laver] set a record of 31 consecutive match victories at Wimbledon between 1961 and 1970, which lasted until 1980 when it was eclipsed by Björn Borg." (Wikipedia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Laver

Scroll down to "All-time Tournament Records" to see more.


"The bridge has been closed until now"

could be improved by saying instead,

"The bridge had been closed until recently,"

since "now" is a specific and ever-changing point in time and is inappropriately used in the example.

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