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Strategy to build complex sentences, here past perfect progressive, simple past, simple present perfect

4 replies    
Dear community,

at dw.com I read an article from author Michael Knigge about Trump and Bannon. Currently, I try to improve my english tenses related grammar skills. Therefore I want to ask, what do you think Michael Knigge wants to emphasize on this sentence:

"But since speculation of Bannon's impending ouster had been circulating for weeks already and gained traction since John Kelly became White House chief of staff, the interview may have been the straw that broke the camel's back."

Moreover, when I try to figure out, if the tenses are used correctly - those are my thoughts:
* 'since' will lead to perfect - had been circulating (Action A), the related event in the past 'John Kelley became ...) (Event related to Action A) needs to be put in simple past. Question: so here is an exception to the rule 'since' (the second one in this sentence) needs perfect?! Emphasize on the duration of this period - therefore the usage of had been circulating.
* 'may have been' - simple present perfect, because the action began in the past and the consequences to the present should be emphasized. It makes no sense to think about the progressive form is more appropriate, because it is just an event and not an action with some kind of progression.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this sentence or a feedback, if my toughts are correct.

Best regards,
AuthorJochen_1980 (1065563) 19 Aug 17, 13:44
A comment on the text: "Since" is used in two different ways in the sentence. The first use "bus since" is akin to saying "because." It is used as a preposition the second time.
#1Authorhbberlin (420040) 19 Aug 17, 13:56
Yes, 'since' is used in two different ways.

The first time, as hbberlin says, it means something like 'because' or 'in view of the fact that', 'given that'.
So the rules about what tense to use with temporal 'since' don't apply.

The second 'since' is in fact a conjunction ('since John Kelly became ...'), and this time it is temporal.
But, personally, I would have used 'after' rather than 'since'.

'may have been' is equivalent to 'was possibly' or 'was perhaps'.

Note: Currently, I try to improve ...: should be 'am trying'.
#2AuthorHecuba - UK (250280) 19 Aug 17, 15:13
Jochen, it's not the question you were asking, but there are several errors in "Currently, I try to improve my english tenses related grammar skills".
1. I try -> I am trying
2. english -> English
3. "English tenses related grammar skills "-> "grammar skills relating to English tenses" / or preferably, "grammar skills with respect to English tenses"
4. The word "grammar" is really superfluous when talking about English tenses

"Currently, I am trying to improve my skills with respect to English tenses."
#3AuthorMartin--cal (272273) 19 Aug 17, 17:19
Sorry, falscher Faden...
#4AuthorBraunbärin (757733) 20 Aug 17, 16:38
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