brought us closer than we have ever been

LQZ

Senior Member
Mandarin
Speaking in the Rose Garden exactly 24 hours after he appeared there Saturday to call for House passage of the bill, Mr. Obama praised House members for what he called a ‘’courageous vote” that “brought us closer than we have ever been” to extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.---taken from The New York Times
Dear all,

In my opinion, it should read "brought us closer than we had ever been", because the action of "brought" happend after "we have even been". Am I right? Thanks in advance.


LQZ
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    No, it's have. The vote, which is now past, brought us closer than we have ever been at any time. So the vote was then, but the time is now. You would use had if you were speaking historically about a time in the past. In 2015, we could say "the vote brought them closer than they had ever been" (up to that time).
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    :) Thank you, Copyright, but I am still confused about tenses. I do think it is logially wrong.

    How about the following one?

    Mr. Obama praised House members for what he called a ‘’courageous vote” that “would bring us closer than we have ever been” to extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
     
    Last edited:
    Mr. Obama praised House members for what he called a ‘’courageous vote” that “would bring us closer than we have ever been” to extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
    "Would bring" would be correct if the passage were not a direct quote from the President's speech but rather a description of what he said:

    Mr Obama praised House members for their vote, calling it "courageous" and saying that it would bring the nation closer than it has ever been ..."

    However, the passage is a direct quote of what the President said. Had he said "would bring" in the speech, it would imply that the vote had not yet happened and that he was inferring the likely result of an action not yet completed. Since the action is completed and the result - in his opinion - is established fact, then the past tense, either simple past or perfect, is appropriate.
     
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