He might have been dalayed at work

Bob8964

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, I wonder how to translate "might have done" in the following sample which I got from Advanced grammar in Use:

Les isn't home yet. He might have been dalayed at work.

Please kindly advise which tense should be chosen when I rewrite it with perhaps:

... Perhaps he was delayed or has been delayed at work.
 
  • Bob8964

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you, Copyright. I have just got another sample:

    Adam is late. He might have got stuck in a traffic jam.

    The same question about the tense selection: It's possible he got stuck or has got stuck in...

    Which one is correct?
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    He's not yet home. If I had to rewrite the second sentence using perhaps, I'd say "Perhaps he's [= he has] been delayed at work." I would use the present perfect because the delay has present relevance.
     

    Bob8964

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    He's not yet home. If I had to rewrite the second sentence using perhaps, I'd say "Perhaps he's [= he has] been delayed at work." I would use the present perfect because the delay has present relevance.

    Thanks a lot. Now I'm quite sure the second sample should be rewritten as:

    ... Perhaps he has got stuck in a traffic gam.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I would say "Perhaps he has got stuck in a traffic jam" for the same reason: We know that "Adam is late", so the delay has present relevance. Bear in mind, though, that AE speakers often use the simple past where BE speakers would use the present perfect.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    ... Perhaps he was delayed or has been delayed at work.
    Both of these are entirely possible. The speaker might be thinking of a specific past time, such as the time when he usually leaves work to catch his train, or a specific past incident that might have delayed him: then the speaker will use simple past. The speaker may not be focusing on a particular past time, but on the present effect, and then will use the present perfect.
     
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