EN: until lately + present perfect continuous ?

AABG

Member
français - France
Hi,

I'm having trouble understanding the following sentence: And they’ve been insinuating, until lately, with sneering smiles, “But, of course you could never play it.”

If I'm not wrong, "until lately" means "jusqu'à peu", which automatically triggers an imperfect tense : Et, jusqu'à peu, ils sous-entendaient avec un rire méprisant : "Mais, bien entendu, tu ne pourrais jamais y jouer".

How come we've got a present perfect in BE+ING then? It just doesn't make any sense to me - unless I have not understood the meaning of "until lately".

Help, please :)
 
  • Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    Un passé composé, que l'on peut souvent considérer comme une forme de présent, me semble convenir : Jusqu'à récemment ils ont sous-entendu...
     

    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    How come we've got a present perfect in BE+ING then? It just doesn't make any sense to me - unless I have not understood the meaning of "until lately".
    I'd say you're right. The tense sequencing is sloppy. It should read either:

    (1) they had been insinuating, until lately... (i.e., these insinuations continued up until quite recently, but then they stopped)
    (2) they have been insinuating, until lately/recently... (i.e., these insinuations started recently and continue now)

    Due to the error in construction, it's impossible to know whether the insinuations are still going on. That said, native speakers are more likely to make tense errors than they are to insert extra and incorrect temporal words... so if I had to bet, I would guess that version (1) was the intended meaning.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    En gros :

    (1) They had been insinuating, until lately… = Ils insinuaient jusqu'à il y a peu… (L'aspect continu du verbe anglais ne peut à mon avis se traduire que par un imparfait dans ce contexte.)
    (2) They have been insinuating, lately… = Depuis peu, ils insinuent…

    P.S.: Je ne dirais jamais jusqu'à peu, mais jusqu'à il y a peu ou éventuellement jusqu'à récemment comme suggéré par Cath.
     
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