In English, what bears more semantic weight, the Tense of a verb or the time condition?

For example, if we compare these two sentences:

This year, she continued being one of the most active employees.


This year, she HAS continued being one of the most active employees.

It looks like "This year" here defines it all and the change from Past Simple to Present Perfect doesn't change the meaning, from which I gather that the time condition is more important than a Tense.

Is it true with regard to all cases in English?

Or is it like it all depends on the situation and there can't be one absolute answer here.

  • Don't we normally switch to the non-finite here? This year, she continued to be one of the most active employees.
    – Phil Sweet
    May 15, 2017 at 9:55
  • @PhilSweet - I don't know. I just came up with this example from the top of my head, but I am not a native speaker, so the example, of course, can be wrong. If it really should be the non-finite here, then is it only a case of using the right form or is it also a matter of conveying the right meaning? I mean can "continued to be" mean something else than "continued being" or it just sounds more idiomatic?
    – brilliant
    May 15, 2017 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


Perhaps even more context is needed.

If it's a meeting--This year she continues to be ....

In a year-end annual report on a particular year: This year (or throughout the year) she continued to be ..

I think you got it right when you said there's no single absolute answer.

  • Can you, please, explain a bit the second line in your answer. I didn't understand what you mean there.
    – brilliant
    May 15, 2017 at 9:11
  • When talking about the present, continuing situation, during the year, use This year she continues to be...; but when talking about a period contained in the past, such as an annual report, use This year she continued to be... - is that more clear?
    – Davo
    May 15, 2017 at 11:43

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