1

"Qatar Petroleum is looking to invest at least $20b in the United States over the coming few years, its chief executive told Reuters, after the Gulf Arab state quit OPEC, freeing Doha from potential legal risks in the United States."

Is that sentence grammatically sound?

Shouldn't it be " after the Gulf Arab state had quit OPEC" instead of "after the Gulf Arab state quit OPEC" as the action of leaving OPEC took place before the action of telling to the Reuters?

Please help with explanation regarding tense.

  • Why do you think it should be in the perfect? – Darael Dec 17 '18 at 20:46
0

There's no reason this needs to be in the past perfect. The simple past is fine. The past perfect would also be fine, but would carry different connotations.

We tend to use the simple past for things that can be viewed as a single (albeit possibly very long) event. We tend to use the past perfect instead when the process is relevant.

Since Qatar's withdrawal from OPEC came suddenly and the process by which it happened is not important to the headline, the simple past tense is more appropriate.

0

"Quit" is simple past -- the article says that the nation quit OPEC (in the past) and its state-run oil company is now looking to invest money in something or another in the U.S.

However I agree the order of the different phrases is confusing -- at a glance it's difficult to see how the phrases are supposed to relate to each other. The action of "quitting OPEC" should be related to the action of "seeking investment", and neither should feel like they relate to the action of "telling Reuters".

A simple edit would have helped:

"Qatar Petroleum's chief executive told Reuters that the company is looking to invest at least $20b in the United States over the coming few years, after the Gulf Arab state quit OPEC, freeing Doha from potential legal risks in the United States."

This should make the relationship of the phrases more logical. The CEO told Reuters some information, which consisted of one significant event (considering investment) justified by a series of two events (withdrawal from OPEC, and consequent reduction in legal risk).

In this context there is no reason to use the past perfect, as there is no significant temporal relationship. The article isn't saying "After A had happened, B happened" -- it's saying "B happened because A happened."

  • Your suggested reorder reads to me like it's the investment that is to follow the departure from OPEC, but (based on searching out the article) it's definitely the comments to Reuters. Might I suggest something along the lines of "In the wake of the Gulf Arab state's departure from OPEC, freeing Doha from potential risks in the United States, Qatar Petroleum's chief executive has told Reuters that the company is looking to invest at least $20b in the United States over the coming few years"? – Darael Dec 17 '18 at 21:54
  • @Darael It makes no sense that the company would decide on an investment strategy after talking to some reporter. I mean, think about it: if that were the case the article would have to go into much more detail about Reuters' influence on the CEO. It's not a plausible conjecture. It's more likely the reporter wrote the article in a hurry without proper editing. – Andrew Dec 18 '18 at 5:48
  • @Darael Anyway, I also read the article, and your conclusion is simply not supported. It's a very short article based on an interview with Reuters, in which only three or four key elements are mentioned. – Andrew Dec 18 '18 at 5:52
0

The choice between "quit" and "quits" has to do with number (singular or plural) as well as tense (past or future). The following four sentences illustrate this. (1) I invested yesterday, after he quit, (2) I invested yesterday, after they quit, (3) I will invest tomorrow, after he quits, (2) I will invest tomorrow, after they quit.

I'm not really sure what sequence of events is intended in your quotation. The journalistic language has a slightly wordy, foreign flavor.

So here are some possible constructions.

A. Qatar Petroleum will invest over the coming few years (its chief executive told Reuters after the Gulf Arab state quit OPEC), freeing Doha from potential legal risks in the United States. [The order here: someone quit OPEC, someone told Reuters, someone will invest freeing Doha.]

B. Qatar Petroleum will invest over the coming few years (its chief executive told Reuters) after the Gulf Arab state quits OPEC, freeing Doha from potential legal risks in the United States. [The order here: someone told Reuters, someone will quit OPEC, someone will invest freeing Doha.]

It also seems possible (if we think like editors) that the writer chose "quit" because (at least in his imagination) the subject was plural. Maybe he'd said, or thought he'd said, something like "after they quit," and the word "they" was improved to "the Gulf Arab state," creating a disagreement of number.

  • That was helpful. But, can you explain me why you will prefer 'quits/has quit' over 'quit'? – Tarek Bin Abdullah Dec 17 '18 at 19:03
  • Having searched for the article, Qatar had quit OPEC before the representative spoke to Reuters. Sorry. – Darael Dec 17 '18 at 20:38

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.