When one has received/receives driving license, he should be driving accompanied by an experienced driver for a year.

I feel it should be present simple. I am hesitating, as it is not supposed to be a general statement/rule, but an opinion/suggestion and "has received" somehow doesn't look "bad" to my eyes.

  • If it's not a general statement, why are you using the indefinite personal pronoun "one"? It looks like a general statement to me... – SamBC Feb 19 '19 at 16:20
  • @SamBC Because it is suggested that every new driver should'nt drive alone for a year. – ziolek Feb 19 '19 at 16:29
  • @ziolek Then it's a general statement. It's talking about every new driver. A specific statement would be when Audrey receives her driver's license . . . – Jason Bassford Feb 19 '19 at 21:09

I think that is a general statement. The use of the indefinite personal pronoun "one" suggests it, and I have no trouble with the idea that it might be a general rule or guideline. There are other problems with it, which I'll handle in passing, but let's take it apart.

"When one receives [a] driving license,"

This is an adverbial of time, indicating that the principal verb of the main clause happens at the point in time when the license is received (and you need an article or a possessive there on driving license, I added the indefinite article).

"he should be driving"

The principal verb is to drive, in the progressive mood, with the modal should to indicate that this is an expectation of proper conduct.

"accompanied by an experienced driver"

Another adverbial phrase modifying to drive, indicating the manner in which he should be driving.

"for a year"

Another adverbial, indicating for how long he should be driving.

It all makes sense, except for the switch in pronoun from one to he. Though I think it's also not quite what you mean to say.

The use of the progressive for the principal verb of the main clause suggests something that should be going on at the time indicated by the adverbial of time. That is to say, he should be in the process of driving for one year. It also carries the suggests that the driving be happening right at that moment, and that it be continuous for the year. Obviously, no-one will read it that way, but the existence of the interpretation renders the reading 'odd'.

No, I assume that the overall intent of the sentence is that, for a period of one year subsequent to being granted a driving license, a driver should still have an experienced driver with them in the car when they are driving. I would render this as:

"Once a new driver receives their driving license, they should continue to drive accompanied by an experienced driver for a further year."

Now, some of this is based on assumptions; in Britain, a driver with a provisional license (a "learner's license") can only drive while accompanied by an experienced driver. Thus, I say continue. You could instead say "they should drive only when accompanied by an experienced driver", or you could use both, "they should continue to drive only when accompanied by an experienced driver". The further is appropriate when using continue, or to give the implicit meaning of continue even if that word isn't used. The infinitive (whether with to following continue, or a bare infinitive immediately following the modal should) is used because the progressive aspect is not appropriate.

The once could be replaced by when, but because it describes the start of a period once is, to me, more appropriate and natural.

But finally, to the key point of your question. Present simple, or present perfect? Well, the literal meanings of the two are different, but identical in effect. We have one or a new driver, so this is a general statement that applies to past, present and future (at least once the rule or guideline is in place). This means that the present simple is appropriate. However, the present perfect is also appropriate, as this is an adverbial of time. The use of the simple suggests that the main clause begins to apply when the time condition happens. The use of the present perfect suggests that the main clause begins to apply when the condition has happened. One applies at that point in time, the other applies immediately subsequent to that point in time. In practice, there's no difference.

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  • "a driver (...) they" How is this style called? – ziolek Feb 19 '19 at 18:07
  • "once a new driver..." is an adverbial of time, indicating when the rest of it happens. The main clause starts with "they should continue", where they is a pronoun standing in place of "a new driver". They are separate clauses with the structure I already described – SamBC Feb 19 '19 at 18:27
  • Sorry for vagueness, I mean this shift from singular "a driver" to plural "they". – ziolek Feb 19 '19 at 18:32
  • 1
    Ah. "They" is often used for semantically singular antecedents. Shakespeare did it. It's called the "singular they". Some stuffy grammarians object. You can make the adverbial plural as well if you want, or make the main clause fully singular, but then it can't be gender-neutral. – SamBC Feb 19 '19 at 18:34
  • (Well, without using something like "he/she") – SamBC Feb 19 '19 at 18:34

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