tried / has tried – past or present perfect?

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marcogaiotto

Senior Member
Italian
In this way Martin Luther King tried/ has tried to give his contribution to the immigrants' integration, especially to set up a better future world.

Hello! Can you help me, please! In this sentence, is the present perfect possible? Or is it completely wrong, as M. L. King is not alive anymore?
Thanks a lot beforehand!
 
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  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    British English would usually/always prefer the simple past because MLK is dead.
    In my view using the present perfect form is completely wrong in this isolated sentence.

    We don't have the whole text. Sometimes present forms, simple/ perfect/ continuous/ are used, even when talking about dead people.
    Without context, only the simple past is acceptable.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    There are several further problems with the OP sentence, but you asked about present perfect vs past simple. That has been answered.
    The other problems have to do with expression and we don't rewrite sentences.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I’m not sure the fact that MLK is dead is the critical thing here. We use the present perfect tense to refer to the present consequence of a past event.

    1 MLK has died ==> He is dead :tick:
    2 MLK has left us inspirational speeches to read ==> We can read them. :tick:
    3 MLK has tried to improve race relations :cross: ==> ? If race relations are better now, it is because of many factors besides MLK’s efforts.
     
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    I'm not sure of your third example, re race relations. I see no reason for present perfect, unless you're a British person opposed to past tense usage wherever possible. :)

    ADDED: It seems I partly miscontrued s16's third example (now clarified); he did *not* endorse it.
    My apologies to him.
     
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    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not sure of your third example, re race relations. I see no reason for present perfect, unless you're a British person opposed to past tense usage wherever possible. :)
    Sorry I was not very clear. I meant that in example 3 of #7 I can’t think of any present consequence so I can’t think of any reason to use the present perfect. I have tried to tweak the wording. ==> The wording should be clearer now.
     

    marcogaiotto

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you so much! What do you mean, Hermione? What are these "several further problems"? I really appreciate your help.
    There are several further problems with the OP sentence, but you asked about present perfect vs past simple. That has been answered.
    The other problems have to do with expression and we don't rewrite sentences.
     
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