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Hello all

I have got these two sentences, without more context information.

1621 was one of the saddest years of our history. (saying to my friend today)

1621 has been one of the saddest years of our history. (saying to my friend today)

At school I was told by native speakers that the second sentence is perfect to say (in case it still is considered the saddest day in our history) even though there are more ways how I can express exactly the same.

But I was told the following about the first sentence with past simple:

_It is refering to a judgement made in 1621. It was (at the time) the saddest day of our country._

If I get it right it would be perfect thing to say in a narrative. (1621 was one of the saddest years of our history. I didn't know what to do as I was totally shocked and confused. I often went to visit my cousin to give him some advice how to survive. To be honest I didn' t know how to protect my own family..)

My question is whether or not I could say the first sentence with past simple without placing it into a narrative. I mean if I say it as a bare statement without telling a story and describing details or so - it can hardly be taken as a refering to a judgement made in 1621(at the moment) , can be?

Would it be grammatically correct to say the first sentence if it wasn't situated in a narrative? Or present perfect is the correct option here and past simple would be wrong if it were out of narrative.

Thank you!
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Dominik6-
1621 was one of the saddest years of our history. (saying to my friend today)
1621 has been one of the saddest years of our history. (saying to my friend today)
The second one is impossible today. It became impossible on January 1, 1622.
It's only possible for the people who said it in 1621.
Dominik6My question is whether or not I could say the first sentence with past simple without placing it into a narrative. I mean if I say it as a bare statement without telling a story
Would it be grammatically correct to say the first sentence if it wasn't situated in a narrative?
Anything and everything can be a narrative, can be a story, even if it's just one sentence. That first sentence is grammatically correct. The very fact that you use it puts it into narrative mode even if you don't have more sentences surrounding it.

CJ
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It is me Dominik6. I don´t know why but I can log - in only on my mobile phone. I have some problems with verifying my email.
CalifJimThe second one is impossible today. It became impossible on January 1, 1622.It's only possible for the people who said it in 1621.
Here raises one of the biggest problems I have ever had in English. It took me a lot of time to finally orientate in all the tenses and now, in a moment, it seems to be destroyed Emotion: sad. First of all I don´t want you to feel that I don´t believe you - you can NOT be wrong when it comes to English grammar - I know that. However your comment goes against advice I received from one native speaker earlier this year. The speaker is from Britain.

Here it is:

If your career is still going on, "US Open 2000 has been the best tournament in my career" makes sense to me. "If you said "was the best tournament in my career", that would suggest that your career is over.

Compare it with "US Open has been my best tournament this year". US Open has finished, but it's still "this year" at the moment when you speak, so the present perfect is correct, and it allows for the possibility that you might play an even better tournament before the year is over (the idea of 'so far' is implicit). "US Open was my best tournament this year" would suggest to me that you don't intend to play another tournament this year.

Similarly for "I have played at Wimbledon three times in my life": the playing has finished, but your life hasn't. Again, "I played at US Open three times in my life" sounds to me like a death-bed statement!

Therefore I think my second sentence should be correctEmotion: crying

Dominik6
AnonymousTherefore I think my second sentence should be correct
It isn't. CJ is right.
AnonymousCompare it with "US Open has been my best tournament this year". US Open has finished, but it's still "this year" at the moment when you speak, so the present perfect is correct
Read the part in boldface print. Now compare that with your sentence about the year 1621.

Is it still 1621? No. It's considerably later than that. It's 2015. So the present perfect is not correct in that sentence.

This year (2015) is the only year about which you can now say "has been a good year", "has been a bad year", etc.
Last year (2014) you could have said "2014 has been a wonderful year", but thisyear (2015) you can't say that.
Anonymous"I played at the US Open three times in my life" sounds to me like a death-bed statement!
That's only because it has "in my life" tacked on at the end. You can say it without that bit on the end in either past or present perfect and neither of them necessarily has anything to do with dying.

I played at the US Open three times. - Correct.
I have played at the US Open three times. - Correct.

CJ
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CalifJimRead the part in boldface print. Now compare that with your sentence about the year 1621.Is it still 1621? No. It's considerably later than that. It's 2015. So the present perfect is not correct in that sentence.
Us Open 2000 has been the best tournament in my career is correct as well in his opinion. And it is more likely to be said e.g. in 2005 when you are still playing in tournaments. This use of present perfect works only if I want to emphasise that something is "the best/worst/saddest/most amazing thing which has ever happened to me until now.
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The native which told me this added that it definitely would not be possible to say : Us Open has been an amazing tournament if it has been a "long" time since.

CJ, if I may call you this way - as I am reading your last post over and over there is one thing which MAYBE make it more interesting. You agreed that I can say "Us Open 2000 has been the best tournament this year" it is because it is still year. But strictly speaking it mihht have been played at the beginning of the year but I am telling this statement after a few months later - the tornament is finished. Therefore I see parallel with my "1621" sentence. Year 1621 is "finished" as well as was the tournament in the sentence you agreed with. However I am pointing out that the year 1621 has been the best IN OUR HISTORY which obviously has not ended yet as well as "this year" in the sentence you agreed with. Please don't take it as a persuading you at any cost or so...but I find it at least as something really interesting to think about. I would say that the native thought this way or similarly.

Therefore I thought it was sort of special use which was normal to use for users of British English rather than American. I don't have anything against American English but it is known that they don't use present perfect that much as people using British English do.
Dominik6but it is known that they don't use present perfect that much as people using British English do.
Where did you get that from?

I agree with CJ and 5JJ. Use the simple past, not the present perfect and you will be fine.

And you can say: "The US Open has been the best tournament this year" up to the point when the 2015 tournament season is finished. If the tournament season (not just the tournament itself) ends in October, then after October we say, ""The US Open was the best tournament this year."
AlpheccaStarsWhere did you get that from?
A lot of Internet websites here in the Czech Republic says that. Sometimes when I am discussing a problem in forums I see that Americans tend to use past simple more often. However it doesn't make that big difference to confuse students.
AlpheccaStarsAnd you can say: "The US Open has been the best tournament this year" up to the point when the 2015 tournament season is finished. If the tournament season (not just the tournament itself) ends in October,
Us Open is a past event + this season + season is on going =present perfect

1621 past "event" + our history still continues = present perfect

Us Open 2000 is a past event + in my career = present perfect

It is the same principle. It should work at least for the third example, shouldn't it?
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Dominik6However I am pointing out that the year 1621 has been the best IN OUR HISTORY which obviously has not ended yet as well as "this year" in the sentence you agreed with. ... I find it at least as something really interesting to think about.
It is interesting to think about. On the other hand, the explanation you offer here strikes me as far-fetched even if it may be theoretically possible. Emotion: smile
Dominik6I thought it was sort of special use which was normal to use for users of British English rather than American.
I doubt that this explains anything. 5jj is British, and A.S. is American, and both of them find your "1621 has been" sentence just as problematic as I do.

CJ
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