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I was trying to describe a brewing storm in a somewhat articulate/poetic way and while choosing how to phrase it I came across this:

In but a few moments the everpresent azure tint vanished from the visible sky, the entirety of which is now enveloped by a large, ominous tempest.

 

In but a few moments the everpresent azure tint vanished from the visible sky, the entirety of which has now been enveloped by a large, ominous tempest.

As you can see, whether I leave it as "is now" or change it to "has now been" the sentence is still in the present tense and the meaning is conserved—for me at least.

So my question is, is there any inherent difference between the two?

  • The difference is in tense, the first is present simple, the second is present perfect. For a thorough analysis of the difference, I would take a look at the answers to this question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/21846/… – RaceYouAnytime May 14 '17 at 20:24
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    "is now" describes the current state of the visible sky but says nothing of the past or when a change in state took place. Whereas "has now been" is more nuanced, implying that a recent change has taken place. Perhaps such that the 'viewer' of this sky witnessed the change(s) in the state of the sky. Perhaps not. Both describe the current state of the sky, but "is now" is present tense, whereas "has now been" describes something that happened in the past which has affected the 'now', the present. As said, more 'recently', perhaps from the perspective of an observer. – SolaGratia May 14 '17 at 22:43
  • @SuperCookie47 I find this answer quite good, go ahead and post it as an answer and I'll accept it as correct. – SemperAmbroscus May 14 '17 at 23:15
  • I've added, although I didn't quite have time to make it very answer-y. – SolaGratia May 15 '17 at 16:42
  • If either of those passages meant anything to you, why did you choose not to post what it meant? – Robbie Goodwin Jul 16 '18 at 18:58
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They function more or less equivalently, so as to convey much the same meaning: the state of the visible sky is changed from what it used to be.

However, there are important nuances or implications to each which must be taken into consideration (especially when writing a narrative or poem where these details are more important to the story and the temporal order or relationship of events therein).

“is now” describes the current state of the visible sky but implies nothing of the past or when a change in state took place.

Whereas “has now been” is more nuanced, implying that a recent change has taken place. Perhaps such that the ‘viewer’ of this sky witnessed the change(s) in the state of the sky and is describing the change(s) as they occur. Perhaps not.

As with “is now”, “has been” (without the ‘now’) also implies nothing of the recentness of the change. Hence, the ‘now’ here specifies when a change took place—‘just now’.

In short, “is now” describes the present state, whereas “has now been” describes the present state and implies its recentness.

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