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Let's say, I'm riding on a bus, all of a sudden I hear a gunshot and the passenger next to me is bleeding. Which is the right tense to use?

1. Someone is shot!

2. Someone has been shot!

3. Someone was shot!

I think #1 is wrong because the shooting has happened and it belongs to the past.

Thanks in advance!
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Comments  (Page 3) 
Anonymous
Goodman
New2grammar
Thanks, Yoong Liat! This is interesting. Does it mean if a guy walks up to me and sees the passenger next to me covered in blood and asks "What happened?", I should say "He was shot" instead of "He has been shot"?

Hi New2grammar,

This is my analogy.

The fact that the gunshot has been fired and the bullet entered his body, the event should be described in present perfect based on the scenario given and therefore “has been shot” is the proper tense.

The act of firing the gun was executed instantly and done before the bullet entered his body. Thus, "has been fired and the bullet entered ..." does not sound right to me.

Hi Anon,

This is where logic and the ability to keep the sequence of event play and important role in English besides grammar. Anyone can make a disagreement, it's easy. The hard part is to make a convincing counter-arguement. True, the act of firing is instantaneous, but the fact that a shot was fired from a gun remains. If you still disagree, Let's look at it from a second to second scenario: I am describing what happened last night


1- Harry’s house was burglarized last night. He chased the burglar with a gun and fired a shot in the dark at . [at this instant, a bullet has been fired from his pistol]. The bullet hit the burglar at the shoulder at .

2- At the same instant, awakened from the commotion but still half asleep, I thought I heard the gun fire and so I asked my wife “did you hear that! It sounded like a shot has been fired at the Harry’s house”, Without knowing who fired the shot and why, I was concerned about the Harry’s.

3- I got up and walked downstairs toward the kitchen window, peeking through the blinds, I saw a man staggering out from Harry’s house. Then I saw Harry chasing after him shouting, “stop”. I looked at the clock on the kitchen wall. It was reading .

4- I grabbed the phone and called 911 to report what I saw. An 911 operator came on line and asked “Is this an emergency?” I replied “yes, I think a shot has been fired and a man may have been shot. Please come quickly.

Now tell me if this scenario makes sense to you.

New2grammarThanks Goodman and Yoong Liat. Though I don't completely understand, I think I've learned something from your reply and that is some verbs require simple past because the actions do not continue' and I need to read a lot more to recognize them.
Hello New2grammar,

The present perfect tense can also be used to describe actions in an unspecific past with a present frame of mind.

Since I am not as articulated as many teachers at this forum, I can only suggest that you look at http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verb-tenses_present-perfect_u.htm . At this site, you should be able to find many examples about the use of other tenses too.

I hope you will find it as interesting as I have found.

Best,
Hoa Thai
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