0

I received it this morning .It has been a long time coming but the long wait has been worthwhile!

I wrote this in the beginning of the afternoon, so can I use present perfect for these two verbs or shall I stay with past simple .

(the wait was very long and it has just ended) present perfect can be used for something that has just ended.

2 Answers 2

0

There are three ways you can construct this sentence, depending on how the three events of the sentence are related to each other. The three events are:

  1. receipt of the package
  2. the duration of time waiting for the package
  3. the moment when the speaker decides the wait was/is worthwhile

If event 2 is complete before event 1, you use the past perfect "it had been a long time coming." You might use the simple past to construe event 3 if the speaker decides the wait is worthwhile before the time when he speaks: "the long wait was worthwhile."

If event 2 is completing when the speaker speaks, you will use the present perfect "has been a long time coming" and the simple present "the wait is worthwhile."

If all three events occur at the same time, use the simple past throughout the sentence. So, depending on how the events relate, you could have:

  • I received it this morning. It had been a long time coming but the long wait was worthwhile.
  • I received it this morning. It has been a long time coming but the long wait is worthwhile.
  • I received it this morning. It was a long time coming but the long wait was worthwhile.
7
  • Why not has been worthwhile could you explain it too me with solution 2 the long wait began in the past and ended in the present
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 15:24
  • You are making the judgment in the present, I assume, of the worthwhileness of the long wait. If you use "has been worthwhile," that means you have been making that judgment over a period of time instead of making it at a single point in time--when you actually say it.
    – Margolis
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 15:57
  • To put it another way, choosing which verb tense to use is about the time relationship between the actions the verbs express. The action is judging the value of the received item compared to the time spent waiting: was it worth the wait? That action happens at a single point in time, after you receive the item and assess it and consider if it is worth the wait. Because you make that evaluation at a single point of time, use simple present: "is worthwhile." If you use present perfect "has been worthwhile," you will indicate that the act of making that judgment of worthwhileness took a long time
    – Margolis
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 16:07
  • and why not I received it this morning. It has been a long time coming but the long wait was worthwhile. This judgment happens as you said at a single point in a time
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 7:11
  • Yes because if you use simple past ("was worthwhile"), then, as you say, the judgment happens at a single point in time. The difference between "is worthwhile" and "was worthwhile" is the relationship of the point when you make the judgment to the point in time when you are speaking, so "was" indicates you made the judgment perhaps in the morning when you opened the package. So, yes, that works.
    – Margolis
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 12:27
0

EXAMPLE: It has been a long time coming but the long wait has been worthwhile!

There is one particular use of the present prefect that is hard for some learners to grasp.

In "it [the present situation] has been a long time coming", the emphasis is on the idea of "to be a long time coming" at the moment when the speaker says that in the present time and not when this situation began specifically. The point is it began in at an undefined point in the past in relation to the present. Compare that to: It began a short time ago.

So, if you say: I've been playing tennis for five years", what matters is the five years in relation to today, the duration into the present. NOT WHEN the playing began. For that, we would say: I began playing five years ago.

The wait was long but the wait is over. As I speak now, it has just ended. What matters there is the ending of it in relation to the time of speaking.

4
  • "The wait was long but the wait is over. As I speak now, it has just ended. What matters there is the ending of it in relation to the time of speaking." I assume you'd use past simple?
    – anouk
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 17:18
  • @anouk You use the tense that expresses what you mean. Have I made myself clear? OR: Was that clear?
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 17:00
  • What do you mean by: "what matters there is the ending of it in relation to the time of speaking"? It has ended, but only just, so which tense would you, Lambie, prefer?
    – anouk
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 18:07
  • 1
    What matters in the utterance "The wait was long but the wait is over." versus "The wait has been long but the wait is over." is what you mean. The second is true IN THE PRESENT at the time of speaking. The first refers to the PAST.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 18:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .