Detour Records have been trying to track down members of this band since the 90s but all the leads went nowhere. Then fast forward twenty years and after doing more research and from reading a post on the excellent "My Life's A Jigsaw" blog we went on a mission to track this elusive band down.

It is not true that the leads went nowhere because at last he managed to track the band. So would present perfect be better in that case? For example, "All the leads have gone to nowhere" (until recently).

Did he choose past simple to emphasize the contrast between the leads that went to nowhere and the good one that managed to track the band?

1 Answer 1


Looking at the story, it seems that Detour records started searching in the '90s. They stopped searching in about 2000. But the search began again recently.

The past tense is used because this is talking about a past action at a specific time period. All the leads found in the 1990s went nowhere.

  • that is what I have understood but what surprises me is the use of present perfect for have been trying (because the searching was interrupted almost 20 years) and this action in present perfect continuous indicates that it was a continuous thing (without interruption )
    – Yves Lefol
    Apr 5, 2021 at 12:21
  • I agree, but the rest of the context implies that they pretty much gave up 20 year ago
    – James K
    Apr 5, 2021 at 13:25
  • So it would have been better to use past perfect continuous if the searches stopped 20 years ago. The problem is that between these 20 years Detour kept searching but did not have any leads so the searching has been continuous but not the leads
    – Yves Lefol
    Apr 5, 2021 at 16:09
  • I think I'd write "Detour records had been trying to track down... in the 1990s, but all leads went nowhere."
    – James K
    Apr 5, 2021 at 16:13

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