2

Let's say you are describing your professor back when you were in college.

His sustained commitment to learning, while never forgetting how to loosen up a bit or de-stress, is one of the most important lessons I have learned from him.

(Re-constructed, sentence #2)

''His sustained commitment to learning, while never forgetting how to loosen up a bit or de-stress, is a lesson I have learned from him.

  • First, there is the Past Tense followed by the last clause which is expressing my opinion in the Present i.e. NOW.

Maybe this is the best form... I think

P.S: I know how present perfect tense works but not quite, specifically this case. As you can see there is the word ''is'' but I am not sure if it is grammatical. Please, shed some light.

  • 3
    Seems like the "but never forget how to loosen up a bit or de-stress" needs editing – Lamplighter Jun 6 '18 at 14:53
  • 1
    Your sentence is not grammatical. but never forget is wrong. You would need to say something like while never forgetting how.... – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 6 '18 at 15:15
  • 1
    He kept up his commitment to learning but never forgot how to loosen up a bit and this was etc.....a phrasal verb + possessive makes it work. That said, I think you've asked this question many times in different forms. – Lambie Jun 6 '18 at 16:23
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo, I am editing it. – John Arvin Jun 7 '18 at 3:31
  • @Lambie, I don't think so, some correlations between these two certainly, but never in this way that I am expressing my opinion in the last clause(yes! that's the word I was missing in the above question) – John Arvin Jun 7 '18 at 4:02
5

If you wished to imply that you are still in contact with this professor, then the present perfect would do. But if the actual relationship ended perhaps many years ago or the learning of that particular lesson occurred in the past, the simple past would be preferable.

His commitment to learning, sustained while never forgetting to loosen up or de-stress a bit, is one of the most important lessons I learned from him.

P.S.
The past tense tells us when you learned this lesson from him: in the past (back when you were in college and he was your professor).

The present perfect tells us that you have learned this lesson from him and no more. Perhaps you did not learn the lesson back in college. It might have taken some years for it to "sink in". Perhaps you did learn it back then. The present perfect is silent with respect to when the lesson was learned. All we know is that it has been learned.

And this combination would be ungrammatical:

One of the most important lessons I have learned from him back when I was his student ...

because we cannot combine the present perfect with a time reference that excludes the present, and "back when I was his student" excludes the present.

  • The past doesn't require that the lesson was learned while at school. The distinction between the past and present perfect, as you said, is solely whether some learning from his example continues at present or is entirely completed. 'Learned'/'learnt' is still more correct even if the lesson was not fully grokked until fairly recently but is now entirely grokked. – lly Jun 10 '18 at 9:43
  • @Ily: It is not about "requiring" anything. Tenses are expressive. The past expresses when. The present perfect, that. The phrase entirely completed begs the question in the case of learning, which is both the process which terminates and the lesson learned which remains. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 10 '18 at 10:12
  • That's not what 'beg the question' means, and the 'lesson learned' isn't a process and cannot be completed. You're just mixing in an entirely unrelated sense (and part of speech) of the word. – lly Jun 10 '18 at 15:23
7

X is one of the most important lessons I have learned from him is perfectly grammatical.

It (timelessly) is a lesson, and you (past with present relevance, therefore perfect) have learned it.

  • Yes, but the x in this case requires fixin'. – Lambie Jun 6 '18 at 16:24
  • Strike a blow for UK orthography! (you have learnt it). It's one of the relatively rare cases where our spelling reflects the spoken form better than Websterised US English! (For most native speakers in most contexts, I think.) – FumbleFingers Jun 6 '18 at 17:48
  • 1
    I wouldn't call it "perfectly" grammatical given the scenario: "you are describing your professor back when you were in college" – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 6 '18 at 19:10
  • Guys, I have just edited it, is it better to make it in present tense instead of present perfect? – John Arvin Jun 7 '18 at 3:39
  • 1
    "X[his sustained commitment] is one of the most important lessons I have learned from him" perfectly grammatical" is right.Compare: "X is one of the most important lessons I learned [or learnt] from him this year." Where's the problem? base form: learn, past participle and simple past: learnt or learned: both are right. – Lambie Jun 10 '18 at 17:37

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.