0

My friend just answered to one of my important questions. Now how should I reply to him?

  1. That question had been in my head for a long time, finally, I got my answer

or

  1. That question has been in my head for a long time, finally, I got an answer.

Basically, I am confused with had and have. Since that question is not anymore in my head after having got an answer, what should be used? (I am also confused whether it is possible to use having instead.)

  • The same question has been migrated from EL&U, so I am linking these two. – ColleenV parted ways Feb 1 '17 at 18:07
1

You should use example two, although you may want a semicolon instead of the first comma.

Had been indicates a past condition which no longer exists. Has been indicates a past condition which continues to the present.

See also this Quora entry.

  • Well, since the question is not anymore in my mind so how does it continue to the present. Why not use " had been then" – xyz Feb 1 '17 at 13:25
  • Also when converted them into active, 1. I had that question in my mind, finally, I got the answer whose active is - That question had been in my mind for a long time, finally I got the answer. similarly 2. I have that question in my mind, finally, I got the answer and whose active is - That question has been on my mind for a long time, finally I got the answer.. – xyz Feb 1 '17 at 13:31
  • Well, if you are narrating at the moment of understanding, it just now ended. – Davo Feb 1 '17 at 15:43
  • Timed out. Well, if you are narrating at the moment of understanding, it just now ended.: Thank you, that question has been in my head, but now it is answered. If you are narrating after the fact: Thank you, that question had been in my head until you answered it yesterday. – Davo Feb 1 '17 at 15:52
1

I would say "that question has been" (or "I have had"); it denotes that at the moment of speaking, it was still at the forefront of your thoughts, and now that you have your answer, it can fade away.

When you look back on it in the future, you can say "it had been on my mind for a long time until you got your answer".

  • 1
    When converted the above sentences in active form, I think the past tense would be preferred." I had that question in my head for a long time, finally, I got the answer" sounds right and " I have that question in my head for a long time, finally, I got the answer" sounds wrong. Please correct me if I am wrong. – xyz Feb 2 '17 at 1:47
0

The first is the "pluperfect" tense. The second is the "perfect" tense.

The "pluperfect " (said 'ploo-perfect') tense is used to refers to things which had already completed in the past. "Ten years ago, she had already graduated from Fancy University."

In the second one, you are trying to use the perfect tense. In Latin, the perfect tense was used with things which happened in the past and were now complete. As before, "She has graduated from Fancy University," except that with this tense it just means that it happened before now.

The best illustration of the pluperfect I've heard of was a Roman consul who was speaking to his dinner guests, and was informed that two assassins had been caught trying to poison him. After he left to deal with that, he returned and announced, "They have lived." (meaning that they were no longer living).

  • So which one of them should be used? Do you mean the second one? – xyz Feb 2 '17 at 4:30
  • @xyz Probably the second. They both work for what you described, but they emphasize different things. – fectin - free Monica Feb 2 '17 at 4:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.