...are the only actors to receive

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cheshire

Senior Member
Japanese
He and Laurence Olivier are the only actors to receive both a Danish and a British Knighthood.
If the time at which "the actors' receiving both a Danish and a British Knighthood" took place was prior to the time at which the sentence is uttered, is the sentence appropriate? Shouldn't it be "...the only actors to have received..."?
 
  • ruru2006

    Senior Member
    spanish
    He and Laurence Olivier are the only actors to receive both a Danish and a British Knighthood.​
    If the time at which "the actors' receiving both a Danish and a British Knighthood" took place was prior to the time at which the sentence is uttered, is the sentence appropriate? Shouldn't it be "...the only actors to have received..."?
    He and Laurence Olivier are the only actors who have received both a Danish and a British Knighthood.:tick:
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi,

    Ruru2006's suggestion is a good one. If, however, you choose to keep the infinitive, I'd suggest also changing the tense of "are" as well for the same reason:

    He and Laurence Olivier were the only actors to have received both a Danish and a British Knighthood.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hi,

    Ruru2006's suggestion is a good one. If, however, you choose to keep the infinitive, I'd suggest also changing the tense of "are" as well for the same reason:
    I find this confusing, Joelline. They are the only actors to have received these honours. Why would we say that they were the only actors...?
     

    mrbilal87

    Senior Member
    English (NAmE)
    I find this confusing, Joelline. They are the only actors to have received these honours. Why would we say that they were the only actors...?
    I believe it would be more appropriate if they're no longer living or they're no longer acting. "They are the only actors to have received..." to me implies that they're still alive.
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you!:) If we keep "They were the only actors to receive both a Danish and a British Knighthood." as it is, does it mean "They were the only actors who would receive..."?
     

    chat9998

    Senior Member
    English, US
    Hi cheshire,

    No, I don't think it means "...who would receive." Using "were" would generally indicate that it is no longer possible for someone else in the future to receive both of such Knighthoods, unless some sort of time condition is put on it like, "they were the only actors up to this point to receive..."
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    1. They are the only actors to have received X.
    2. They were the only actors to receive X.

    These are the two constructions I would use. In the first one, the emphasis is on their current status as recipients of X. In the second one, the emphasis is their receipt of X.
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I'm sorry, but the original sentence sounds fine to me, without modification. :) I would take it to mean that as we stand here today, only these two actors have received this dual honor. I don't see any need to change it.
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Interesting!
    to- infinitive can express an event in the past, in "He and Laurence Olivier are the only actors to receive both a Danish and a British Knighthood."
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Interesting!
    to- infinitive can express an event in the past, in "He and Laurence Olivier are the only actors to receive both a Danish and a British Knighthood."
    I don't think it's an event in the past, in this usage. It is a status report about the present.

    As we stand here today:

    (1) Only two actors, A and B, have received this honor.
    (2) A and B are the only two actors to receive this honor.

    (1) = (2).
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Why on earth "receive" is for a status report? It seems to me like an action verb, one-time action verb at that.
    I believe that what Old Novice meant by a "status report" is that your sample sentence reports the current state of what we're talking about. In other words, the current state is that they are the only actors to have received the honour.
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    If "He and Laurence Olivier are the only actors to receive both a Danish and a British Knighthood." is a good sentence as it is, what does it exactly mean? Can it express "they have already received the titles"?
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    If "He and Laurence Olivier are the only actors to receive both a Danish and a British Knighthood." is a good sentence as it is, what does it exactly mean? Can it express "they have already received the titles"?
    No, as has been previously stated, you have to say "He and Laurence Olivier are the only actors to/who have received both a Danish and a British knighthood."
     
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