"So I wondered if I could use X where Y has been utilized for ages" — tense?

cmyguo3o

Senior Member
Russian
Here's a sentence that I translated from my mother tongue:
"So I wondered if I could use a similar approach in another context where a diode has been utilized for ages as a blocking component."

A native speaker (from the US) said that because of the rules for sequence of tenses, I cannot use Present Perfect after "where", and that Present Simple should be used instead given that statement about the diode still holds true.

I need second opinions — what do you think?
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The tense looks fine to me. The present perfect has been utilized implies that utilization has continued to the present.

    (Ages sounds a bit vague and colloquial for a scientific report!)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Here's a sentence that I translated from my mother tongue:
    "So I wondered if I could use a similar approach in another context where a diode has been utilized for ages as a blocking component."

    A native speaker (from the US) said that because of the rules for sequence of tenses, I cannot use Present Perfect after "where", and that Present Simple should be used instead given that statement about the diode still holds true.

    I need second opinions — what do you think?
    The present perfect is not the issue. What I think your native seaker was pointing out was that after "I wondered..." he was expecting a "back shift" as you would find in reported speech:

    1) "So I wondered if I could use a similar approach in another context where a diode had been utilized for ages as a blocking component."
    In 1) the past tense "wondered" indicates something that happened in the past and the sentence reports it.
    2) "So I wonder if I can use a similar approach in another context where a diode has been utilized for ages as a blocking component."
    In 2) the "wonder" is said in the present.
     

    cmyguo3o

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The tense looks fine to me. The present perfect has been utilized implies that utilization has continued to the present.

    (Ages sounds a bit vague and colloquial for a scientific report!)
    Thank you! This is an article for DIY types, and the author switches constantly between formal and conversational styles.
     

    cmyguo3o

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The present perfect is not the issue. What I think your native seaker was pointing out was that after "I wondered..." he was expecting a "back shift" as you would find in reported speech:

    1) "So I wondered if I could use a similar approach in another context where a diode had been utilized for ages as a blocking component."
    In 1) the past tense "wondered" indicates something that happened in the past and the sentence reports it.
    2) "So I wonder if I can use a similar approach in another context where a diode has been utilized for ages as a blocking component."
    In 2) the "wonder" is said in the present.
    We discussed this "back shift" (it was the first thing I thought of when she told me about the issue), and I suggested changing it to Past Perfect, but then she said that I needed to use Present if what is being talked about after "where" is still true.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    OK - I see the discussion:) If you consider "where a diode has been utilized for ages" as an "eternal (or continuing) truth" it would not need to be backshifted.
     
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