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Hello,

Kindly advise which are correct.

A. The best song she has composed has been Summer Breeze.
B. Summer Breeze has been the best song she has composed.

C. The best song has been Summer Breeze.

D. Summer Breeze has been the best song.

1. I understand sentence A is not natural because of two consecutive verbs in present perfect tense. Rearranging it with sentence B as the result, does it make it sound natural then? Please correct my sentence.

2. I also read from another thread that in a sentence structure like A, the word 'best' and a present perfect like 'has been' cannot go together, does it mean C and D are not natural?

3. How does using 'is' instead of 'has been' in C and D make the original sentences different?

Thank you.
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Comments  
1-- They are OK, but the 2nd pp is unnecessary and would probably be replaced by 'is' in A by a native speaker.
2-- There is no relationship between 'best' and verb form.
3-- It takes no account of a possible future success.
Thank you for your answers. I really appreciate it.
Mister Micawber2-- There is no relationship between 'best' and verb form.
Therefore, C and D are correct and natural?
Mister Micawber3-- It takes no account of a possible future success.
Doesn't 'is' suggest universally or "all time" which includes the future? Whereas 'has been' suggests something from the past up to the present and I think it doesn't say anything about possible future success. It seems my original understanding is the other way around. Please enlighten me. Thanks.
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AnonymousDoesn't 'is' suggest universally or "all time" which includes the future? Whereas 'has been' suggests something from the past up to the present and I think it doesn't say anything about possible future success.
AnonymousI also read from another thread that in a sentence structure like A, the word 'best' and a present perfect like 'has been' cannot go together
I vaguely recall having said something like that, but maybe I didn't explain it in enough detail.

If you wish to use a superlative like "best", "most beautiful", and similar expressions in their "absolute" sense, that is, timelessly, then "has been" will not sound natural (in my opinion). "has been" is going to give the impression that your judgment of what is best or most beautiful may change because "has been" implies "until now" -- not "for all time".

My favorite novel is Anna Karenina. (timeless opinion)
My favorite novel has been Anna Karenina. (until now; I expect my opinion to change)

Of these, the second sounds strange -- to my ear anyway. I almost expect the speaker to add more by way of explanation:

For years my favorite novel has been Anna Karenina, but I'm reading War and Peace now, and it looks like I may have to change my mind.
_____________

Regarding the Summer Breeze sentence, as an isolated sentence I imagine a context like this, where has been seems odd to my ear:

My collection includes 30 songs.

Summer Breeze [?has been / is] the best song.

It doesn't seem to me likely that you intend to say that you might change your mind tomorrow and say that Winter Wind is now the best song, so I don't see a cogent rationale for using has been. Of course, only you know what you intended to say.

_______

As with the Anna Karenina example above, Summer Breeze has been the best song gives me the impression that more must be said, maybe:

Summer Breeze has been the best song on the charts for the last three months. (Here you recognize that its ranking may change in the future.)

_________

As an aside, you might note the absurdity of using the numeric superlative "first" with the present perfect. What was first can't change in the future.

*Neil Armstrong has been the first man to set foot on the moon. (But next year someone else will be first!??)

CJ
Thank you, Philip, for your additional input, and CJ, for your detailed explanation.

Summer Breeze is the best song.
Per CJ: timeless opinion
Per MM: It takes no account of future possible success.

Summer Breeze has been the best song.
Per CJ: until now, I expect my opinion to change
Per MM: It takes account of future possible success.

CJ,
I can see clearly the difference between 'is' and 'has been' with what you explained. However, I was wondering why Philip and Mister M said that 'is' in the above sentence doesn't suggest anything about future success when it's already timeless and opinion isn't expected to change as you wrote. I might have misunderstood something. Please help me reconcile the two ideas.

Mister Micawber and Philip,
If you could, please enlighten me as well re: 'has been' not taking account of future possible success and being rather contradictory to a timeless opinion.
CalifJim*Neil Armstrong has been the first man to set foot on the moon. (But next year someone else will be first!??)
Thus, this is incorrect. 'Is' should be used instead. Please confirm.
Would you also say that 'was' for 'has been' above with 'first' is incorrect because again it is a timeless opinion? However, I'm confused because you wrote "What was first can't change in the future".
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Hello Mister Micawber,

Could you please comment on this one? Thank you.
AnonymousSummer Breeze is the best song.
Per CJ: timeless opinion
Per MM: It takes no account of future possible success.

Summer Breeze has been the best song.
Per CJ: until now, I expect my opinion to change
Per MM: It takes account of future possible success.
Mr. M and I are saying the same thing, but in different ways. A timeless opinion is an opinion that won't change in the future, so a timeless opinion "takes no account of" (doesn't consider) anything regarding the future. On the other hand, if (as in the second case, with "has been") I expect my opinion to change, it will change in the future (When else?), so expecting change is the same as "taking account of" (considering) something in the future, for example, that some other song will be written which is even more successful (better) than Summer Breeze.
Anonymous'has been' not taking account of future possible success and being rather contradictory to a timeless opinion.
There is no contradiction if you understand it as explained above.
Anonymous
CalifJim*Neil Armstrong has been the first man to set foot on the moon. (But next year someone else will be first!??)
Thus, this is incorrect. 'Is' should be used instead. Please confirm.
An asterisk ( * ) placed in front of a sentence is the usual signal that it is ungrammatical. The better verb tense there is the past, was, because the event in question happened in the past. See below for further discussion.
AnonymousWould you also say that 'was' for 'has been' above with 'first' is incorrect because again it is a timeless opinion?
No. was is correct. It's not a timeless opinion; it's a timeless fact. (As thoughout this post, by "timeless" I mean "unchanging".)
AnonymousI'm confused because you wrote "What was first can't change in the future".
It was first in the past, when it happened. Armstrong set foot on the moon many, many years ago. And anything similar, which was first in the past, would be spoken of in the past tense -- but not in the present perfect, which is the point of this entire thread.

CJ
Thank you so much for everything you've explained. I'm being more and more enlightened.
CalifJim
AnonymousWould you also say that 'was' for 'has been' above with 'first' is incorrect because again it is a timeless opinion?
No. was is correct. It's not a timeless opinion; it's a timeless fact. (As thoughout this post, by "timeless" I mean "unchanging".)
Isn't 'is' also possible since it's a timeless fact and him being first is forever true and will not change? I understand it happened in the past, but when I read the definition of simple past tense, it says it refers to events or actions that are no longer true.

Neil Armstrong is the first man to set foot on the moon.

If both are possible, would you still stay 'was' is the better tense in the example?
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