Why in this news they use this expression, and then present perfect, but not past perfect?

"Valentino Talluto is said to have had unprotected sex with at least 53 women after his HIV diagnosis in 2006"


2 Answers 2


"It is said" is an example of impersonal passive voice.

You'll see this expression a lot in the news because it acts as a form of disclaimer that what is being reported is only alleged, and may not be proven at the time of writing.

If it had been proven, for example in a court of law, that Valentino Talluto had unprotected sex with at least 53 women after his HIV diagnosis, the newspaper could report that fact with impunity. However, if it is only an allegation that has yet to reach court and be proven, using an expression like "it is said that...", or just "it is alleged that..." shows that the news media are reporting simply reporting on the allegation.


As rjpond's comment mentions there is no past perfect in this sentence. There is what we could call a "past infinitive" which has no tense. The tense is defined by the verb "to say" which in this case is a present passive ("is said").

That being said: The present perfect tense is used in several ways. While it can be used to describe an action that has just completed, it is also frequently used to describe a life experience:

I have traveled to Europe many times.

I have eaten fried bees.

In this case the use of the perfect tense describes the subject's life experience (having unprotected sex with 53 women). Other examples:

The subject was reported to have robbed six different banks in as many hours.

The group is known to have influenced the stock market through illegal trades.

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