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School grammar says the tense /aspect of the main clause is the present or past perfect if the subordinate clause or phrase begins with since.

That said, what do you think about the acceptability of the following?

John used / had used / is using Peter's legal services since he was sued by his coworker Tom.

I'd appreciate your help.

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    What exactly do you want to say? Also, do you mean "since" meaning "after", or meaning "because"? – Andrew Jan 2 '18 at 16:09
  • After. I'm just testing what possibilities are acceptable. – Apollyon Jan 2 '18 at 16:13
  • It is not clear what your sentence means when since has a temporal sense (and does not mean "because"). Please get off this "What is acceptable" jag, and get onto a "what is clear?" footing. Or ask this kind of question on a site where corner case grammar is a primary focus. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 2 '18 at 17:35
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As long as it makes sense, I don't think there is any requirement for the verb tense in the main clause after using "since" (to mean "after").

Since I changed to an electric razor, I shave every day.

Since I changed to an electric razor, I am shaving every day.

Since I changed to an electric razor, I have shaved every day.

Since I changed to an electric razor, I shaved every day (but then I grew a beard.)

Since I changed to an electric razor, I had shaved every day (before I grew a beard.)

All of these are valid, although they mean slightly different things.

The only tense that doesn't work, at least without more context, is the future tense. "Since" implies something that happened in the past, and the associated action should relate to that event.

Side note: "Since" has multiple meanings, and so exactly which is not always clear. If you want to use the meaning "after" then it may be helpful to say "ever since" instead:

Ever since I fell in love, I couldn't be happier.

  • I don't find the final two idiomatic (changed....shaved, had shaved). – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 2 '18 at 17:42
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There are two different meanings of "since". One means "because", and the other means "from". It doesn't make sense to restrict "because" to past tense, so my answer is based on the assumption that you mean it in the "from" sense.

Within the "ever since" meaning, you are discussing what happens in a time period that begins with the time described in the “since” clause. Since you’re not talking about what happens at a particular time, but what happens as of a particular time, perfect tenses are appropriate. If the time period ends in the past, then it’s past perfect. If the time period reaches the present, then it’s present perfect. In both cases, the progressive tense can be used in combination with perfection. So it can be:

“John had used Peter's legal services since he was sued by his coworker Tom.”

“John had been using Peter's legal services since he was sued by his coworker Tom.”

“John has used Peter's legal services since he was sued by his coworker Tom.”

“John has been using Peter's legal services since he was sued by his coworker Tom.”

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