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Recently I came across the below sentences.

Biden has been predicted the winner in states from Virginia up through the East Coast. Other states called as Biden victories include California, on the west coast. Trump was the predicted winner in much of the South, including Alabama, as well as several central states, including Kansas and Missouri. [1]

another sentence where "was/were predicted" is used

High self-conscious individuals were predicted to drink following personal failure and avoid drinking following personal success in an attempt to control their sensitivity to the self-relevant implications of such events. [2]

i dont know if there is any difference between these two usage, because for me, both of them seem to mean prediction made in the past.

note: the second sentence can be seen only in the full text which can be downloaded here. One can find this whole sentence with google

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    @Joachim I have edited the post with the links of the sources at the end.
    – FaDA
    Jan 21, 2023 at 8:04

2 Answers 2

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This is the usual difference between past tense "was" and present perfect "has been". The latter means at an indefinite time in the past, with a connection to the present

Biden has been predicted to win...

Someone predicted that Biden will win. The time when the prediction was made is not relevant, we are talking about Biden now as a likely winner.

Past tense is used for events at a particular time in the past.

These individuals were predicted to drink...

At the time of the experiment, a prediction was made and the results of the experiment may confirm or contradict that prediction. There is no connection to the present (There is no suggestion that the prediction is about the present time), instead it is at a particular time in the past.

As both can be used to talk about past events, in many situations both are possible. And the example with Biden could be changed to "was" with little real difference in meaning.

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  • Thanks for the clear explanation!
    – FaDA
    Jan 21, 2023 at 9:21
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Even your first quote has examples for both forms, and may be an excellent candidate to demonstrate the difference and the author's intent:

Biden has been predicted the winner in states from Virginia up through the East Coast. Other states called as Biden victories include California, on the west coast. Trump was the predicted winner in much of the South, including Alabama, as well as several central states, including Kansas and Missouri.

"Has been" is present perfect, "was" is simple past.

By wikipedia:

The present perfect [...] is used to express a past event that has present consequences.

  • "Biden has been predicted the winner in [...]"

And he is the president now, thus present perfect gets used. This expresses that those predictions got confirmed.

  • "Trump was the predicted winner in [...]"

But he is not the president now; simple past (especially in contrast with the present perfect used for the other candidate) implies that those predictions were proven false.


It would be interesting to see whether someone, who writes about the same historical events, say, ten years from now, would use simple past describing both president-elect's predictions; as in that future, (I guess) none of those persons will be the sitting presidents any more.

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