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I don't think this sentence is correct. Am I right?

I finally watched the video YouTube has been recommending for weeks.

Shouldn't the past perfect continuous be used there instead of the present perfect continuous?

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  • 2
    Why do you think the present perfect cannot be used there?
    – user3395
    Aug 21, 2017 at 16:21
  • Because after I'd watched the video, YouTube stopped recommending it. It is no longer recommended to me so I think past perfect should be in the sentence.
    – slovakgirl
    Aug 23, 2017 at 8:31
  • Great. In the future, please incorporate all of your thoughts into the question, so the potential answerer knows what to focus on. (:
    – user3395
    Aug 23, 2017 at 10:59

1 Answer 1

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If YouTube is still recommending the video, than "has been recommending" is correct. There is a continuous process of "recommending" that began in the past and continues to the present.

If YouTube stopped recommended the video at some point, then you would say "had been recommending". They were recommending it, but they are not doing so any more.

The fact that you watched the video at some time in the past doesn't change this. You might do something because of an action that is ongoing even after you acted. For example, "The rock fell to the ground because gravity exerts a force between all objects with mass." Gravity continues to work after this particular rock fell, so it is correct to use the present tense "exerts" to describe gravity in this sentence, even though the particular forces that made this particular rock fall are no longer operating.

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    "Finally watched" is past tense, so the speaker watched the video sometime in the past. "Have finally watched" is also valid but there's nothing wrong with "finally watched". In this context, I don't see any real difference in meaning. If the speaker wanted to say that the watching happened in the present, he should say, "I am finally watching".
    – Jay
    Aug 21, 2017 at 18:40
  • @MvLog It depends on what you're trying to convey. Remember that spoken language is the language. If we want our writing to reflect something a person would actually say, such as in dialogue or any informal piece of writing, "I finally watched" is best, because that's what most people would say.
    – user428517
    Aug 21, 2017 at 19:21
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    @MvLog I finally watched doesn't break any rules; the watching is over and done with, and we're not trying to emphasize the continuing effects of the watching, so simple past is fine. And to the extent that it's more idiomatic, it is likely to be preferred by editors as well as speakers.
    – 1006a
    Aug 21, 2017 at 20:26
  • Note that YouTube works differently from gravity. Gravity is a permanent thing, and it works on all things always. I'm not privy to inside information on YouTube's algorithms, or even outside information (in the form of testing), but it would make sense if they stopped recommending a video after you've watched it.
    – Arthur
    Aug 22, 2017 at 11:01
  • @Arthur If these are recommendations specifically to you, maybe so. If they are general recommendations to many users, than if they stopped just as you watched it that would presumably be coincidence. Even if we are talking about targeted recommendations, they might or might not stop when you watched the video. I still get targeted ads for printers even though I just recently bought a new printer, etc.
    – Jay
    Aug 22, 2017 at 17:57

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