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The following is the beginning sentence of a CNN news story.

A dog has been hailed as a hero in Japan after she saved the life of a man who was having a heart attack by sounding the alarm with her incessant barking.

I'm wondering if it's more appropriate to use "since" instead of "after," to better match the present perfect in the main clause.

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This sentence is correct and natural as originally written in the CNN news story.

The phrase "after she saved", in this context, means something like "following her saving" or "as a result of her having saved". Both these phrases work with present perfect because they indicate the reason the dog is being hailed as a hero now. They don't mark the time when the dog was hailed as a hero.

As to your suggested change, if you mean "since" in the sense of "because she saved the man's life", then yes, "since" works. But if you mean "since" in the sense of "from the time she saved the man's life until now", then no, that's not the intended meaning. The phrase "after she saved..." does not indicate the time she was praised, only the cause.

Only the tense, present perfect, tells us the time of the praise.

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  • What's wrong with the sense "from the time she saved the man's life until now"? The dog was not immediately hailed as a hero after she saved the man's life. Conceivably, some time elapsed between her actions and her being hailed as a hero.
    – Apollyon
    May 23, 2023 at 2:54
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    There's nothing wrong with your version of the sentence. Certainly some time has elapsed, but we only know that logically -- it's never stated directly. The problem with your version is that your phrasing isn't a replacement for the meaning of the original phrase. In fact, you could use both phrases and the sentence would still be correct (though awkward): "Ever since a dog saved a man's life, she has been praised after sounding the alarm with her incessant barking that the man was having a heart attack".
    – gotube
    May 23, 2023 at 3:42
  • @gotube "ever since" suggests that something takes place continuously or repeatedly. E.g. "Ever since I got in a car accident, I have driven more carefully."
    – Barmar
    May 23, 2023 at 13:35
  • It's hard to completely disentangle the time and cause aspects of "after she saved", because the cause always has to precede its effect. That's probably how the words "after" and "since" originally gained their causal meanings.
    – Barmar
    May 23, 2023 at 13:37

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