Dear fellow learners and teachers, When I was going through a book a sentence caught my eye, and it goes like this:

I guess it might have been Jasmine who stole that necklace.

The question is, can I also use 'might have been J who has stolen that necklace'? Are the two tenses interchangeable?

Looking forward to your answers.


It is possible, but the past tense is more likely. The present perfect is a present tense and so is about the current state. That would normally be used with a present tense modal phrase

Jo has stolen the necklace

This tells us about Jo now; she "has" the "experience of stealing" in her past.

I might be Jo who has stolen the necklace.

There is no real need for the present perfect here, and most people would use the past tense in this particular situation. But models don't have past tense. The perfect structure is also used with models to talk about the past. That would go naturally with a past tense.

It might have been Jo who stole the necklace.

Here we are speculating about the past.

  • You have some typos in your answer, just wanted to let you know (^_^)/
    – Cardinal
    Jun 4 '20 at 6:01

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