While working on a project with a friend, we stumbled upon a grammatical problem.

These use cases have been modeled and help convey the game’s primary gameplay.

I'm uncertain whether or not it's acceptable to switch between past tense "have been" to current tense "help."

I'm wondering if the following, would be better suited:

These use-cases have been modeled and have helped convey the game’s primary gameplay.

My friend argues that the alternative I proposed doesn't clarify that the use-cases still convey the game's primary gameplay to this date.

Are both correct, or is one preferred over the other?

  • 2
    The change in tense is fine; there's no reason that tenses must always be the same. In fact, rewording it as suggested sounds a bit bizarre. (Do they no longer help convey anything?) You have more of a problem with the overall sentence itself. I don't understand what use cases means in this context. And I think modelled in order to convey flows better, but, again, I'm not sure of the background or intention. Last, the repetition of game in the game's primary gameplay sounds odd to me. – Jason Bassford May 26 at 2:05
  • The phrasing "have been modeled" isn't a past-tense construction. It employs the passive voice, present tense and perfect aspect. This usage of "help" employs the active voice, present tense and indefinite aspect. Also, I have to wonder whether the end users are expected to know these use cases before playing the game. – Gary Botnovcan May 26 at 4:06
  • 1
    Why do you think that have and help are in different tenses? They are not: both are present tense. To be in different tenses you would have to pair either present-tense have with past-tense helped or else past-tense had with present-tense help. – tchrist yesterday

The simple present tense can be used to convey a general truth. In the context of your sentence, "help convey the game's primary gameplay," is a general truth. It is true today; it was true in the past; and it will be true in the future. "These use cases have been modeled," is the foundation of the general truth.


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