1) With the evolution of international law in the last 100 years, the concept of unrestricted sovereignty has weakened.

Is usage of "has" correct here? Or should we use has been?

2)I miss him when he isn't around. We have been great friends even before collaboration for this project.

Can we use "were" here insteadof "have been"? If yes, what is the difference in their meaning?

  • I'll comment rather than answer because I am not as confident on the explanations. But in the first case you should say 'has been' (although 'has' doesn't actually sound too bad'. In the second sentence you should say 'were' (have been sounds wrong). – Jacob Lee-Hart Jan 23 at 10:26
  • 1) has is a statement of fact; has been emphasizes that the weakening has come about through some unnamed agent. 2) Have been is the present perfect and as its name implies, the action of the verb must have some relationship to the present. It's inappropriate with some set time in the past, e.g, the time of collaboration on the project. Use the simple past were or the past perfect had been. – user105719 Jan 23 at 11:47
  • can you please explain the difference between the usage of "were" and "had been" in the second sentene? – ramteja guthikonda Jan 23 at 13:07

To weaken can mean either to become weaker (as in this context) or to make weaker (something or somebody else). So in sentence 1 the sense is 'the concept has become weaker (= has weakened by now, as a result)' which is OK, while changing to passive voice (has been weakened), would mean that 'some unnamed forces have made that concept weaker (=it has been weakened by them)', and that might sound less natural.

In sentence 2 were is the correct option since it's about a period of time before a moment in the past (that period doesn't stretch till 'now' as it would in case of 'have been') and that friendship continued after that moment (otherwise it could be 'had been').

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  • could you please explain the difference between the usage of "were" and "had been" in the second sentene? – ramteja guthikonda Jan 23 at 13:08
  • 'Had been' would mean that their friendship lasted just until the moment their collaboration began: the tense 'had been' (past perfect) technically precedes to past simple tense (before their collaboration =~ before it began/started). Since 'even before' is explicitly said, it means their friendship continued after that moment as well. Anyway, when it is clear from the context, which action in the past was 'before', it's not necessary to combine 'past perfect + past simple' and the 'past simple + past simple' (just one 'past simple' in our case) is enough, so the choice here is were. – Alex_ander Jan 23 at 13:40

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