I am a little bit confused by this sentence:

After annexing Crimea and with troops massed on the border of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin will not stop trying to expand Russia until he has “conquered” Belarus, the Baltic states and Finland, one of his closest former advisers has said.

I cannot understand why in the emphasized part of the sentence the present perfect is used. I would await the simple present in this type of the clause. The sentence suggests that Putin has already started the conquest of other countries, which is nonsense.


Until designates a point in the future; the present perfect (which you should keep in mind is a present-tense construction) defines that point as the point at which the conquest is a prior event giving rise to a current state: the completion of the conquest.

The sentence says nothing about when the conquest starts, only about when it is finished.

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    I wonder, would "until he conquers" be equivalent? – CowperKettle Aug 27 '14 at 16:03
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    @CopperKettle In this case, with a telic verb, the present perfect and the simple present have pragmatically the same meaning; but this does not hold with verbs of other sorts. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 27 '14 at 16:10
  • @StoneyB What is a "telic" verb? – Jasper Aug 27 '14 at 17:49
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    @Jasper A verb with a goal or completion 'built in' to its sense. See the Aspect tag-wiki. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 27 '14 at 18:19

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