While answering a certain question, someone (a native speaker) writes:

"My sister came over last night. She'd been promising to come for weeks, and she finally came."

"My sister came over last night. She's been promising to come for weeks, and now she's finally come."

In both cases, her coming did take place in the past. The first expresses her coming as a past event. The second refers instead to a currently existing state produced by her having come. This would be entirely appropriate if, for example, her not having come had strained their relationship, while her having come has produced a current state in which the relationship had been mended. That's not explicitly stated of course, but to my mind some continuing change in state as a result of her having come is implied in the use of the progressive. That may be what would cause a person to say "she's been promising", but I'm speculating. Anyway, it doesn't sound awkward or incorrect to me. (source)

Q) What type of conditional is it? Is it a mixed conditional? Does the condition clause refer to a counterfactual situation?

  • The difference can be seen if we focus on last night. Both tenses work fine with that time-frame, but if we switch it to last summer, your second (Present Perfect) version would be far less likely (because you could only really use it if the speaker's sister had "come over" from some other country, and stayed with the speaker ever since). Does that clear things up? Mar 24 '21 at 18:02
  • Sorry for confusing it. I've edited my question. @FumbleFingers, the entire thing in the blockquote is what the native speaker said, including the sentences in quotation which he gave as examples. He used a conditional sentence in answering the question. But it's not clear to me what he said in that sentence.
    – Mr. X
    Mar 24 '21 at 18:15
  • 1
    That's a very long-winded "explanation". I take it the reason for it being given at all was that you (or someone else) didn't understand the difference between the two quoted examples. But rather than try to figure out exactly what his words "meant" (a bit pointless, if they didn't work for you! :) all you need to focus on is the actual difference between the two examples. And that actual difference is simply that Present Perfect implies greater relevance to time of utterance, which I think should be easier to see if you consider the implications of changing night to summer. Mar 24 '21 at 18:23
  • I have edited in the source of the original post. Good thing we got a little script thingy in place that detects this kind of stuff. Please include your source in the future.
    – Eddie Kal
    Mar 24 '21 at 20:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .