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An event (course) started at Time1, last time was at Time2 (last semester) and is not finished yet, and is not going to be finish in nearest future. How to tell about it shortly?

The question is basically which time should I use. I have constructed something like this:

The course has being held at X University from summer semester 2013 to summer semester 2014.

Is it correct?

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  1. The complement of HAVE in a perfect construction must be a past participle. Since you require a form of BE for the passive construction, you must use the past participle of BE, which is been:

    The course has been held ...

  2. I take it that you employ the present participle (-ing form) to effect a progressive (continuous) construction in order to imply that the course is currently being held.

    If that is the case, note that that construction requires a form of BE as its head: The course is being held. To combine the progressive with the perfect construction, you treat the past participle of BE which is acting as the complement of HAVE as the head form; its present-participle complement being then becomes the form of BE which expresses the passive construction.

    The course has been being held ...

    Note, however, that in this context the progressive construction is unnecessary (indeed, it sounds rather awkward). A present perfect assets a state which exists at the time when you utter the sentence, and unless there is something in the context which suggests otherwise your hearer will assume that that state is the continuing availability of the course, and that it will persist into the future.

  3. Because a present perfect asserts a present state, a timespan endpoint which lies in the present does not have to be specified. This appears to be the case here, since the time at which you ask this question (July, 2014) lies within the timespan you specify as the end. Such a timespan extending from a specific time in the past up to the present is expressed with since:

    ... since summer semester 2013.

    Consequently, all you need to say is:

    The course has been held at X University since summer semester 2013.

    If it is for some external reason necessary to specify the present semester, or future semesters during which the course is to be offered, those should be incorporated in supplemental phrases or clauses:

    The course has been held at X University since summer semester 2013, and is being held in the summer and fall semesters of 2014.

There is a great deal more about all this at our Canonical Post on the perfect construction What is the perfect, and how should I use it?.


In fact, specifying an endpoint would imply that the timespan came to an end at some point before you uttered the sentence. In that case the present perfect would be prohibited: you would have to say The course was held from Summer 2013 to Summer 2014.

  • 1
    Sorry, I think this answer is incorrect. For a past time, we'd surely write: The course was given or taught in the summer of 2013 and 2014. Since 2014 has past, I really think that was being held is odd. Unless: The course was being given or taught in 2013 when the earthquake occurred. You answer ignores the time frame. – Lambie Jun 1 '17 at 13:27
  • @Lambie Note the datestamp on the question and answer: I wrote this during the summer of 2014. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 1 '17 at 13:37
  • It is from a long time ago! Luckily it is being revisited, allowing an opportunity to provide the correct answer. I'm with Lambie in that this answer is incorrect. "Is being held," works better but we can't tell if the speaker is speaking of the future or the present. – EllieK Jun 1 '17 at 14:10
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    @EllieK My point is that at the time this was written, the summer of 2014 was in the present, not in the past, and the non-past progressive was appropriate. (I have however corrected August to July.) – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 1 '17 at 14:21
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"The course held at X University starting in 2013 will continue through 2014. The Summer semester has already passed and the course will begin again in the Fall semester."

  • What if I need to put "summer semester 2014", which already passed? – klm123 Jul 17 '14 at 14:49
  • See the changes I made. – Obfuskater Jul 17 '14 at 15:00
  • You made additional assumptions, it is not going to finish, but future is not known. – klm123 Jul 17 '14 at 15:00
  • See the other answer to this post from Jay. – Obfuskater Jul 17 '14 at 15:09
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I don't think there's a tense that specifically conveys the idea of "done once, then done again, and will be done again in the future for indefinite repetitions." That's getting too specific for a simple tense. But you can convey the idea by adding a few words. For example: "The Basket Weaving course has been taught since summer 2013, most recently in fall 2014." Or, "The Basket Weaving course was taught in summer 2013, again in fall 2014, and will be repeated in the near future."

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The course has being held at X University from summer semester 2013 to summer semester 2014. Please see comments below.

Courses are taught or given or offered. They are not "held". A class can be held. And yes, since they are taught or given or offered, the verbs would be in the passive tense. A French course is offered [by the university] ever year. The passive is used and the agent [by x] is often assumed, not stated.

Past continuous passive tense

1) : The course was being given or taught at X University in the summer of 2013 WHEN the earthquake occurred.

One ongoing action is described when another action occurs.

Compare that to the present continuous passive tense:

2) The course is being given this summer semester on the main campus.

The time of the action is in the near future or present time.

And:

3) The course is given every summer on the main campus.

The action is a general idea. General ideas are given in the present tense, passive or active voice. He drives fast cars. She is reading by candlelight.

If two dates are given, continuous tenses are not appropriate. The course was taught in the summer of 2013 and 2014.

From the summer of 2013 to 2014 may only be used for uninterrupted action: I was learning English from the summer of 2013 to the summer of 2014.

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