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Please take a look at these sentences

1)A lot of people have tried to find out what happened to the captain and the crew of Mary Celeste.

Why is it not "have been trying" because we still don't know the reason and people are still looking for an explaination .

2))The ship's disappearance is often linked to Bermuda triangle

Why present and not present perfect because people have been looking for an explaination for a long time and this explaination (bermuda triangle) seems to be quite old.

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    Taken out of context, they're all fine, 1 and 2 and your proposed revisions. What construction you use will depend on how you're trying to frame these facts, not on absolute time relationships. Dec 29, 2014 at 19:33
  • When we say "people have tried", we imply that the attempts were not successful and were abandoned.
    – user11628
    Dec 29, 2014 at 19:41
  • Why the downvote?
    – Ben Kovitz
    Dec 30, 2014 at 13:53
  • The meaning of 'have tried to find out' does not tell us that people have stopped trying to look for the crew. It simply means that past attempts of trying have some psychological connection to the moment the sentence was uttered. @StoneyB feel free to correct me.
    – user6951
    Jan 6, 2015 at 17:00

1 Answer 1

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For sentence 1:

A lot of people have tried to find out what happened to the captain and the crew of Mary Celeste.

'Have tried' implies that people have tried, and then their efforts have ended for whatever reason (maybe they gave up).

If you used have been trying, it would imply that their efforts are still continuing unless you say otherwise.

For sentence 2:

The ship's disappearance is often linked to the Bermuda Triangle.

I'm assuming by 'present perfect' you mean the construction 'has been', so 'has often been linked to the Bermuda Triangle'.

The two versions of the sentence are equivalent as you're using them now, but with the present perfect you could more easily set the premise up to be refuted:

The ship's disappearance has often been linked to the Bermuda Triangle, but...

If you're just stating the fact, then 'is often linked' works perfectly.

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  • The implication that people gave up trying is not from the present perfect, but from the verb try. A lot of people have tried to find out what happened to the crew, and Johan Johanneson's attempt is no different.
    – user6951
    Jan 6, 2015 at 16:46

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