by the end of the 21st century, people have suffered for decades

Joika

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello everyone,

I was doing a peer review for a friend on his short story, which starts with "By the end of the 21st century, famine and drought have brought people into sufferings for decades".

I thought "for decades" wouldn't work with "have brought", let alone in parallel with "by the end of the 21st century", which I see as a conflicting time expression for the present perfect. Another friend suggests that we view "for decades" as a modifier for "sufferings", which would make the sentence work.

Should we leave the sentence the way it is or make some changes anyways just to make it clearer? Does the original sentence work fine :D ?

Thank you!!
 
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  • Joika

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Agreeing with Owlman and adding that in any case the tense used is incorrect. It should be 'will have brought'.
    Thank you!! I forgot to mention that it's sort of a sci-fi story that depicts a scene happening in the future. In this case, can we use the present perfect to describe the characters' present?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The present perfect is fine for a story set at the end of the 21st century. It's also fine with "for decades". The bit that strikes me as odd is "brought ... into sufferings". I think your friend needs to choose a different word or phrase - perhaps the "suffered" in your title.
     
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    Joika

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The present perfect is fine for a story set at the end inthe 21st century. It's also fine with "for decades". The bit that strikes me as odd is "brought ... into sufferings". I think your friend needs to choose a different word or phrase - perhaps the "suffered" in your title.
    Thank you!!
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thank you!! I forgot to mention that it's sort of a sci-fi story that depicts a scene happening in the future. In this case, can we use the present perfect to describe the characters' present?
    No, because you're referring to the future (By the end of the 21st century), so you need the future perfect. The present would work if you had said 'By the end of the 20th century'.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    London calling, what nightowl is saying is that the story is set at the end of the 21st century.
    In other words, the idea is:
    Today is 31 December 2099. Famine and drought have brought suffering for decades.
     
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