KudoZ home » English » Linguistics

the letter has been filed on May 17, 2005 (grammar question)

English translation: the letter was filed on May 17, 2005

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:the letter has been filed on May 17, 2005 (grammar question)
English translation:the letter was filed on May 17, 2005
Entered by: airmailrpl
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

07:31 May 17, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Linguistics
English term or phrase: the letter has been filed on May 17, 2005 (grammar question)
May 17, 2005 is today

However, I believe that the above construction is wrong. Please confirm or rebut my opinion.

If possible, please provide references to grammar guides on the Internat
Alexander Onishko
Local time: 13:14
alternatives
Explanation:
the letter is being filed on May 17, 2005
the letter will be filed on May 17, 2005
the letter is filed as of May 17, 2005
the letter will have been filed on May 17, 2005
the letter was filed on May 17, 2005
Selected response from:

airmailrpl
Brazil
Local time: 07:14
Grading comment
Ian Winick's answer which I had been going to select had mysteriously disappeared ... therefore I am selecting a good answer with the largest number of "agree" 's

Anyway, many thanks to everybody !
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
4 +4alternatives
airmailrpl
5 +1the letter has been filed as of today
Nick Lingris
4 +2the letter has been filed on may 17, 2005 (grammar question)
Tony M
5 +1incorrect
Olga B
3it looks correct to mexxxsergey


Discussion entries: 4





  

Answers


46 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
the letter has been filed on may 17, 2005 (grammar question)
alternatives


Explanation:
the letter is being filed on May 17, 2005
the letter will be filed on May 17, 2005
the letter is filed as of May 17, 2005
the letter will have been filed on May 17, 2005
the letter was filed on May 17, 2005

airmailrpl
Brazil
Local time: 07:14
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in category: 32
Grading comment
Ian Winick's answer which I had been going to select had mysteriously disappeared ... therefore I am selecting a good answer with the largest number of "agree" 's

Anyway, many thanks to everybody !

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Robert Donahue: "This letter shall be filed on the 17th day of May in the year of our Lord 2005"? :-)
2 hrs

agree  rangepost: with-the letter was filed on May 17, 2005
7 hrs

agree  Quicksilver: the letter was filed
1 day18 hrs

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
2 days6 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
the letter has been filed on may 17, 2005 (grammar question)
it looks correct to me


Explanation:
finished present action

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 19 mins (2005-05-17 08:51:38 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

it\'s not all black or white!
depends whether you are only a learner who wants to stick rigidly to the rules.

i can percieve a certain degree of pressure to announce the result, in such cases such structures are unusual but NOT IMPOSSIBLE:

Grammars usually say that the present perfect cannot be used together with expressions of finished time - we can say (I have seen him) or (I saw him yesterday), but not (i have seen him yesterday). In fact, such structures are unusual but not impossible (though learners should avoid them). They often occur in brief news items, where space is limited and there is pressure to announce the news and give the details in the same clause.

Here are some real examples taken from news broadcasts, newspaper articles, advertisements, letters and conversations:

I am pleased to confirm that Lloyds Bank ... has opened a Home Loan account for you on 19th May.

I have stocked the infirmary cupboard only yesterday.

A 24-year-old soldier has been killed in a road accident last night.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 5 mins (2005-05-17 09:36:58 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

sorry, i should have mentioned - it was taken from p. 443
\'Practical English Usage\' by Michael Swan, Oxford University Press 2005.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 44 mins (2005-05-17 10:16:03 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

further to your additional note:

you are both right:
you - because it\'s unusual grammatically.
her - because it\'s not impossible. see my comments.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 50 mins (2005-05-17 10:22:00 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

to writeaway:
professional (and shall i say \'noble\'?) IMHO would be to ADD your further comments and NOT DELETE your old ones:

Old opinion: disagree
Old comment: you are wrong here. full stop. if you want to believe you
are correct and that native speakers have no clue about
their own language, that is your privilege.

New opinion: disagree
New comment: you are wrong here. full stop. as soon as a time or date has
been given,it\'s a past action.the letter has been filed and
now we... is how the pr.perf. could be used-has to tie in
with present. is that professional enough?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 53 mins (2005-05-17 10:25:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

to writeaway again:
because i don\'t have the same editing function as you do. you can change you comment endlessly. i can\'t. not fair.

xxxsergey
Local time: 11:14
Works in field
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Catherine Bolton: If the action is finished AND you include the timing, you should use the simple past. Present perfect would be correct if the sentence read "The letter has been filed". ADDED COMMENT: It's a tad offense for you to call native speakers "only learners".
3 mins
  -> i wouldn't be so categorical if i were you. see my additional comments. +++ 'only learners' means 'only learners' - native or non-native. you are putting words into my mouth.

disagree  writeaway: you are wrong here. full stop. as soon as a time or date has been given,it's a past action.the letter has been filed and now we... is how the pr.perf. could be used-has to tie in with present. is that professional enough?
2 hrs
  -> it is not about my being right or wrong here. it's about the reality of the english language usage. i have explained how this structure could be possible and in what situations and substantiated it from MICHAEL SWAN'S book. please keep it professional.

agree  Tony M: Actually, I totally agree with you! This is actually quite common in business use, particularly in letters that will be read after the date in question... // Now, now, don't get sarky! :-)
2 hrs
  -> hey! support from the unexpected quater :-) . thank you very much!

agree  Robert Donahue: Not quite sure what the fuss is here. As Dusty states, these things are common in business. Do resumes (ones that get looked at anyway) follow standard English grammar? No. Business correspondence doesn't always either. :-)
3 hrs
  -> me neither :-)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
the letter has been filed on may 17, 2005 (grammar question)
incorrect


Explanation:
You can't use Present Perfect if you answer the question "When?"



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs 20 mins (2005-05-17 10:51:59 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It has been sent today, on May 17. - Then Present Rerfect is OK.

Olga B
Israel
Local time: 13:14
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  xxxsergey: i wouldn't be so categorical. it's limiting.
1 hr
  -> The rule is limiting. Thank you, anyway

agree  xxxIanW: Perfectly correct
2 hrs
  -> Thank you

disagree  Tony M: In certain contexts, it is perfectly acceptable and common
2 hrs

agree  Catherine Bolton: With Ian on this one... and what was that about the natives? ;-)
2 hrs
  -> Thank you

neutral  Robert Donahue: w. Dusty and Sergey here. There are exceptions.
3 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
the letter has been filed on may 17, 2005 (grammar question)
the letter has been filed on may 17, 2005 (grammar question)


Explanation:
I'm actually quite suprised this question has raised such a polemic --- when I first read this sentence, it seemed perfectly natural to me. I can't say I LIKE the construction, but it certainly seems quite familiar to me, and is common enough not to be able to be merely dismissed as imprecise grammar. I think my appreciation of it probably comes from my rather dated background in commercial correspondence, with its own inimitable style.

The writer might well have written (and I don't think anyone could object to...) "I have filed your letter today, 17th May" --- but as is so often the case in commercial and formal correspondence, the use of the impersonal passive is preferred, leadin (IMO) to the whole problem. Surely you can quite legitimately say "Your letter has been filed today, 17th May"?

Tony M
France
Local time: 12:14
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 156

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nick Lingris: I wholeheartedly agree with "Your letter has been filed today, 17th May"
24 mins
  -> Cheers, Nick! ;-)

agree  Arcoiris: your letter has been filed today, 17th May. Perhaps the comma after today makes things clearer?
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Apricitas!

neutral  xxxIanW: I have no problem with ""Your letter has been filed today, 17th May", but I have a problem with "the letter has been filed on May 17"
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Ian!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
the letter has been filed as of today


Explanation:
If she filed it sometime today, this is the only way to use the present perfect tense (has been filed) and get away with it.

Once you mention the date, the person who will receive and read the letter, will just think the present perfect is being used incorrectly, as incorrectly as in the examples Michael Swann quotes from the press. You can be doctrinaire about this point of usage.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs 46 mins (2005-05-17 11:18:40 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I also quite agree with Dusty\'s: \"Your letter has been filed today, 17th May\".

Nick Lingris
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:14
Native speaker of: Native in GreekGreek
PRO pts in category: 52

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Merit: Indeed. Let's not start imitating 'news' English.
1 hr
  -> I haven't got this recent edition of Michael Swann's book, but I'm sure he too frowns on such combinations.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search