Is the following correct in English:

Since the works have been started end of last year, two activities out of ten have been completed, then the works have been stopped for more than three months and poorly resumed mid of the recent month.

I feel that I repeated "have been" many times and my letter became weak.

Please advise how to avoid repeating that. Is there another construction that can be used?

  • 2
    I would be inclined to say something like: "Since the works began at the end of last year, two of the ten activities have been completed"
    – 13509
    Jul 19, 2015 at 12:28
  • 2
    You cannot use present perfect (e.g. have been) when referring to a past time period (i.e. finished time), such as "last year".
    – JMB
    Jul 19, 2015 at 12:45
  • to be more specifict, when referring to a specific time period Jul 19, 2015 at 20:14

2 Answers 2


There's nothing wrong with repeating perfect constructions as many times as needed—if they are in fact needed. But only one of the present perfects in your sentence is even acceptable.

Let's take this clause by clause; (I'll format corrections which have nothing to do with your question like this, and explain them at the end of this post):

Since the works have work has been started at the end of last year,

You need to keep in mind that the present perfect is a present tense: it names a non-past state or status which arises out of the past event. Consequently, you cannot use a present perfect with a time expression which does not include the present.

For instance,

Since December six months have passed. and
Since December two activities out of ten have been completed.

   are both fine: the first reports your current experience and the second reports the current state of the work, and Since December names the beginning of a timespan reaching up to the present. But when you substitute an event for December—in your example, the beginning of the work—that event necessarily lies in the past, and cannot be expressed with a present perfect. You have to use the simple past:

Since the work was started at the end of last year, two activities out of ten have been completed . . .

Your next clause seems at first to be OK:

have been completed; but then the works have work has been stopped for more than three months ...

If your sentence (or the facts) ended right there, this would be fine: we would understand has been stopped for more than three months to mean that the halt continues to the present day. But your next clause contradicts this understanding:

. . . and poorly resumed mid in the middle of the recent {last/this} month.

Since work resumed, the halt must have ended in the past, so it cannot take the present perfect after all; again, you need a past construction:

...; but the work stopped for three months, and { resumed only in / did not resume until } the middle of last month.

  • Plural works has a number of meanings, but it is not used to mean "all the things to be done", which seems to be what you intend. I have replaced this with singular work, which in this context will be understood to mean the activity.

  • the end of last year can be used to speak of either a point in time or a timespan as a noun (The end of last year was a busy period) and in casual speech it may be used by itself to locate something else in time; but in formal writing it is better to employ a preposition such as at or during to make it clear that this is a locative expression.

  • Your sentence changes its perspective here: you've just described a state in the present, and you cannot coherently use then to move on from that to describing an event in the past. Moreover, halting the work is such a distinct change of direction from the early successes that something stronger than , then seems to be called for.

  • Poorly seems out of place here: it is difficult to understand how something can be resumed poorly. Perhaps you mean something like half-heartedly or grudgingly; but I suspect what you mean is that the work is being done poorly. If so, that belongs in another clause at the end of this one.

  • Mid of is not an English expression: mid is used only as a prefix to nouns.

  • Unless you are going to pin it down immediately (e.g., the recent month in which management realized what was going on) there is no such thing as the recent month—just about any month this year could now (in July) be described as a 'recent' month. You presumably mean either last month or this month; this month could also be expressed as the current month.

  • Thank you for the corrections, I wanted to mean that after stoppage the works have been resumed and now are onging, not yet done. I wanted to say by "poorly" That the works resumed in a very weak way no sufficient manpower and resources. Can i use poorly?
    – Emad
    Jul 20, 2015 at 7:24
  • I said "works" because they are many activities to be done.
    – Emad
    Jul 20, 2015 at 7:28

Things start at a particular point in time. If that point in time is in the past, you're referring to a discrete, completed event, which requires the past:

The works were started at the end of last year.

Now, if you wish to refer to events that have taken place during the intervening time-span between that starting point and now, the present perfect can be used; but if you wish to refer to events that took place between the inception and some other point in the past, one again we use the past:

Since the works were started at the end of last year, two of ten activities have been completed. The works were stopped for more than three months.

NOTE: One could also say "did not progress" there instead of "were stopped" to avoid sidetracking the discussion on what it means to stop or to be stopped for a duration.

With the final clause in your example, we are once again speaking of the beginning of something, again, a discrete point in time, here in the past, so again requiring the past tense. A recommencement is, grammatically, a commencement:

The activities resumed at the middle of last month.

Since the works were started at the end of last year, two of ten activities have been completed. The works did not progress for more than three months. Activities resumed this past month.

  • Thank you for your advice but I meant that the works started and not yet completed and they are ongoing now, So, I used present perfect.
    – Emad
    Jul 20, 2015 at 7:18
  • Since you cited a particular point in time in the past for the resumption of the work, the present perfect is ungrammatical: [X] "have resumed mid [sic] of the recent month." If you omit "mid [sic] of the recent month" then present perfect is OK. Jul 20, 2015 at 10:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .