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Here is a sentence that confounds even me

Sir Jony Ive, KBE oversees the design engineering of the first iPhone in 2007 and all of its versions ever since.

What would be the right tense form for oversees here?

marked as duplicate by David, Edwin Ashworth, Skooba, FumbleFingers, Mari-Lou A Oct 1 '17 at 13:09

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  • 2
    Oversees is the "historic present", used to give a sense of immediacy when reporting past events. I don't think a real past tense will fit here at all because you actually need two; that would need a full clause like "and has done for all versions ever since". – Andrew Leach Jun 27 '17 at 9:12
  • 1
    What Andrew said. And I'd suggest adding a comma after KBE. – NVZ Jun 27 '17 at 9:12
  • 1
    You never use both Sir and KBE together. That is tautology. – Chenmunka Jun 27 '17 at 9:37
  • Lenin, could you help with the source of the sentence? – Rakesh Ghatvisave Jun 27 '17 at 9:51
  • 2
    If you want to use a past tense per your question's title (as opposed to finding the 'right' tense for the existing sentence per your question's text), consider the past perfect with a slight rearrangement: Sir Jony Ive KBE has overseen the design engineering of the iPhone since its first release in 2007. – Lawrence Jun 27 '17 at 12:06

One possible conjugation is "has overseen," which changes the verb tense of the sentence from present to present perfect. The present perfect tense indicates that the subject both performed the verb in the past and continues to perform the verb (Sir Ive oversaw design engineering and still oversees design engineering).

Another option is to make your predicate compound (with two verbs).

Sir Jony Ive, KBE, oversaw the design engineering of the first iPhone in 2007, and continues to manage designs of Apple products to this day.

Also consider rewording the sentence to better group the objects.

Sir Jony Ive, KBE, has overseen the design engineering of every iPhone since its inception in 2007.

  • Yes, I believe there is no way to use one verb form here while keeping it correct. And as you said, adding two verbs is the only way, but at the cost of making the sentence sound pretty awkward. I mean: "Sir Johny Ive oversaw the design of the first iPhone in 2007, and has been overseeing the designs of every iPhone since then." :( -- remember having two tense forms is okay as long as sentence conveys intended meaning (Chicago, I guess). – Lenin Nair Jun 30 '17 at 8:24

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