Sarah has climbed the Matterhorn, sailed around the world, and has gone on safari in Kenya. She is such an adventurous person.

Why is "sailed" in the Simple Past while the other verbs are in the Simple Perfect? (It is an example from a website on grammar.)

1 Answer 1


The tense is still Present Perfect, "sailed" is both the past simple form and the past participle of "sail". The subject (Sarah) and the auxiliary verb (has) are the same so they have been omitted. You can also say: "Sarah has climbed the Matterhorn, she has sailed around the world, and she has gone on safari in Kenya." but that is a bit clumsy.

  • 7
    Yes. The error (a small one) is repeating has in the third verb after omitting it in the second one, which muddies the ellipsis. Jun 11, 2013 at 11:02
  • @StoneyB: I don't really see it as an "error" at all. There's nothing obviously wrong to my ear in something like "I've been there, seen it, done it, and have got the t-shirt" (which arguably allows you to put a little more emphasis on the final component). If in OP's example the final verb had been safaried instead of gone on safari extending the ellipsis would seem more natural, but because what we've actually got is a phrasal (as opposed to single-word) verb, it seems perfectly okay to me to treat that as a "breakpoint", and discontinue the ellipsis. Jun 11, 2013 at 17:04
  • @FumbleFingers As I said, it's a small error; and it would indeed be justified if it marked the final term as semantically distinct for some reason. I'd be happy with has A, B, C —and has even D. I'm also happy with your first example, but that's only because in my dialect have got is a different construction: not a present perfect, as have gotten would be! :) Jun 11, 2013 at 17:10
  • @StoneyB: That's exactly my point - I do see the final term as (syntactically, not semantically) distinct. And I don't recognise any grammatical rule saying ellipsis must be continued as long as possible once it's started, so OP's example is at the very least "acceptable". And I wouldn't argue with a competent writer if they told me they'd chosen to use that form because they actually thought it was better. Jun 11, 2013 at 17:26
  • @Stoney: I wonder if the writer would have been less inclined to use a second has if the third verb ended with -ed, as in: Sarah has climbed the Matterhorn, sailed around the world, and traveled on safari in Kenya. Maybe – although this is just a theory – with the irregularly conjugated gone, the writer felt an extra has would read better. I'd consider it neither correct nor incorrect, but optional.
    – J.R.
    Jun 11, 2013 at 23:19

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