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From http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/y2876e/y2876e0i.htm:

Once bargaining has started, other intermediaries remain at a distance and wait for their turn to deal, should the first intermediary fail to obtain the fisherman's lot.

Why has the writer used perfect tense in the above sentence?

If I say it with simple tense, does it mean the same?

Once bargaining is started, other intermediaries remain at a distance and wait for their turn to deal, should the first intermediary fail to obtain the fisherman's lot

If the writer just wants to say that when bargaining starts, other intermediaries remain at a distance, why he has used perfect tense?

If i Say "Once Match has cancelled other teams players remain at a distance". Is it correct then?

  • You are correct in understanding that has started and is started mean the same thing here. The main point is that while the bargaining is in progress, the other intermediaries must wait. Has started makes that just a tiny bit clearer, for reasons that the answers below try to explain. (It's because the present perfect means "even though the action happened in the past, the result is still in effect".) – Ben Kovitz Dec 10 '14 at 16:46
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"Has started" is an active voice, present tense, perfect aspect construction. Since there is no object in the clause, this uses the intransitive sense of "to start". It means that there exists in the present tense some condition that the perfect action caused.

"Is started" is a passive voice, present tense, indefinite aspect construction. Because of the passive voice, it does not make sense to call this a simple tense. This uses the transitive sense of "to start". It implies that bargaining is started by some agent. The author would avoid this form if there is no specific action or signal that starts the bargaining.

The simple present-tense form is "starts". It is an active voice, present tense, indefinite aspect construction. Like the present perfect, it would use the intransitive sense of "to start" in this context.

The author could have chosen to use the simple form. That some condition exists because the bargaining starts can be reasonably inferred. The use of the perfect construction, however, makes that condition explicit. With the simple form, the finished action may have a current effect. With the present perfect form, the finished action certainly has a current effect.

  • Thanks for the answer. If i say "Our Match has cancelled". is it correct? – user4084 Dec 10 '14 at 4:39
  • Actually, is started is not passive, or at least it doesn't have to be understood that way. Here are some comparable non-passive constructions: "My leg is broken", "The bargaining is done", "Your sweater is torn". – Ben Kovitz Dec 10 '14 at 5:54
  • @user4084 No, "Our match has cancelled" is not correct. This is correct: "Our match is cancelled." "Our match has cancelled" suggests that the match did the canceling. "Is cancelled" tells the state of the match without suggesting an agent. "Our match has been cancelled" is passive, indicating that someone cancelled the match. – Ben Kovitz Dec 10 '14 at 5:59
  • Thanks Ben. If i Say "Once Match has cancelled other teams players remain at a distance". Is it correct then? – user4084 Dec 10 '14 at 6:49
  • @BenKovitz, your example non-passives are all, in fact, passive. Something broke the leg. Something did (or finished) the bargaining. Something tore the sweater. The agents may be unknown or irrelevant, but their existence is still suggested by the existence of the active-voice equivalents. – Gary Botnovcan Dec 10 '14 at 13:32
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While both of those verbs convey the same meaning that the process of 'bargaining' is going on, I think using 'has' stretches the time, though a bit.

I see the use of 'once' which denotes some point of time. So, to comprise, is started... talks about right there, bargaining started. On the other hand, has started... talks about the process of bargaining just being started with a little stretch of time.

  • Thanks for answer. So "match has canceled due to rain" has same meaning as above. i.e . conveyaing Time stretches – user4084 Dec 9 '14 at 14:09
  • If i Say "Once Match has cancelled other teams players remain at a distance". Is it correct then? – user4084 Dec 10 '14 at 6:51
  • match has been canceled/delayed..or whatever --If the activity is recent and you are informing someone. I mean that's what we practice. – Maulik V Dec 10 '14 at 7:18
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Classes have started/classes have been started/classes are started. Correct usage with reasons n conceptual clarity is needed.

  • correct usage with reasons n conceptual clarity is needed. – Bhoomika Aug 5 at 3:31
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    Please use the Ask Question button to ask a new question. Please also include your own research and understanding of the problem. – Em. Aug 5 at 4:08
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"is" is present continuous tense.

"has started" is past continuous tense. So the writer telling, that the bargaining started already.

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    Actually, the term for has started is "present perfect". You are right, though, that it means that the bargaining started already, and is still in progress. – Ben Kovitz Dec 9 '14 at 10:30
  • Also, present continuous would be is starting. I take is started as simple present tense, but this is the sort of thing linguists can debate about. – Ben Kovitz Dec 9 '14 at 10:35
  • "is started" is passive simple present. Simple present would be "Once bargaining starts..." – miltonaut Dec 10 '14 at 2:09
  • @miltonaut This how those debates get started. :) See my comments on Gary Botnovcan's answer for why is started is not passive (in this context). – Ben Kovitz Dec 10 '14 at 16:53
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    Ugh, yeah... I suppose "started" in this case would be a past participle adjective. English is so frustrating! shakes fist – miltonaut Dec 11 '14 at 3:56

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