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An event (course) started at Time1, last time was at Time2 (last semester) and is not finished yet, and is not going to be finish in nearest future. How to tell about it shortly?

The question is basically which time should I use. I have constructed something like this:

The course has being held at X University from summer semester 2013 to summer semester 2014.

Is it correct?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. The complement of HAVE in a perfect construction must be a past participle. Since you require a form of BE for the passive construction, you must use the past participle of BE, which is been:

    The course has been held ...

  2. I take it that you employ the present participle (-ing form) to effect a progressive (continuous) construction in order to imply that the course is currently being held.

    If that is the case, note that that construction requires a form of BE as its head: The course is being held. To combine the progressive with the perfect construction, you treat the past participle of BE which is acting as the complement of HAVE as the head form; its present-participle complement being then becomes the form of BE which expresses the passive construction.

    The course has been being held ...

    Note, however, that in this context the progressive construction is unnecessary (indeed, it sounds rather awkward). A present perfect assets a state which exists at the time when you utter the sentence, and unless there is something in the context which suggests otherwise your hearer will assume that that state is the continuing availability of the course, and that it will persist into the future.

  3. Because a present perfect asserts a present state, a timespan endpoint which lies in the present does not have to be specified. This appears to be the case here, since the time at which you ask this question (August, 2014) lies with in the timespan you specify as the end. Such a timespan extending from a specific time in the past up to the present is expressed with since:

... since summer semester 2013.

Consequently, all you need to say is:

The course has been held at X University since summer semester 2013.

If it is for some external reason necessary to specify the present semester, or future semesters during which the course is to be offered, those should be incorporated in supplemental phrases or clauses:

The course has been held at X University since summer semester 2013, and is being held in the summer and fall semesters of 2014.

There is a great deal more about all this at our Canonical Post on the perfect construction What is the perfect, and how should I use it?.


In fact, specifying an endpoint would imply that the timespan came to an end at some point before you uttered the sentence. In that case the present perfect would be prohibited: you would have to say The course was held from Summer 2013 to Summer 2014.

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"The course held at X University starting in 2013 will continue through 2014. The Summer semester has already passed and the course will begin again in the Fall semester."

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What if I need to put "summer semester 2014", which already passed? –  klm123 Jul 17 at 14:49
    
See the changes I made. –  Obfuskater Jul 17 at 15:00
    
You made additional assumptions, it is not going to finish, but future is not known. –  klm123 Jul 17 at 15:00
    
See the other answer to this post from Jay. –  Obfuskater Jul 17 at 15:09

I don't think there's a tense that specifically conveys the idea of "done once, then done again, and will be done again in the future for indefinite repetitions." That's getting too specific for a simple tense. But you can convey the idea by adding a few words. For example: "The Basket Weaving course has been taught since summer 2013, most recently in fall 2014." Or, "The Basket Weaving course was taught in summer 2013, again in fall 2014, and will be repeated in the near future."

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