A newly assertive Berlins appears… (past perfect)

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VictorKons

Member
Italian
Hello!

Saw the following sentence in a newspaper today:

A newly assertive Berlin appears willing to flex its muscle in ways it had been reluctant to do in the past.

Okay, I understand why they are using the past perfect. At some point Berlin was reluctant to flex its muscle, then it started to appear not so reluctant and has been so up to now.

But can it also be said:

A newly assertive Berlin appears willing to flex its muscle in ways it has been reluctant to do in the past.

I am more comfortable with using the present perfect here, but just want to make sure.

Thank you,
Vic
 
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hi, Vic.

    The present perfect looks fine to me. I prefer it over the past perfect in this sentence. The past perfect would look normal to me if the writer used "appeared" instead of "appears" in the first half of the sentence.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I agree with Owlman.

    Vic, are you sure that the original used the plural "Berlins"? There is just one. If so: Where did you find the sentence?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Was this the original, Victor?
    Financial Times 17 July 2015: Greece clash sparks fears over German power*
    The bruising negotiations left even Germany’s allies fretting that the EU had been forever changed, with a newly assertive Berlin willing to flex its economic muscle in ways it had been reluctant to do in the past lest it awaken dark memories of Germany [sic] hegemony.

    If so, the reason for the past perfect is that this is a past-tense narrative:).

    -------

    * This link may not be accessible to everyone.

    EDIT: typo
     
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    VictorKons

    Member
    Italian
    Thank you, Owlman5, Parla, and Loob!!! :)

    Yes, it comes from today's article in the Financial Times! The problem is that the same sentence also appears in the subtitle of the article (without the first part of the sentence "The bruising…forever changed"), but I guess that with subtitles and titles anything goes!

    Parla, yes, "Berlin" of course. It's just sloppiness on my part, not on the newspaper's. I've edited accordingly.

    Thank you!!
     
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