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Hi,

The following is from News Week's 1997 edition. The time sequence seems quite confusing to me. Is this a normal way of wording of events in this tense sequence or is it peculiar to Journalistic Style? How could we explain the sentence in other words?

"When 3M recently reported that it invests more than $100 million a year in environmentally related research and development, the real news was that from 1973 to 1995, its 4.400 Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) projects have saved the company close to $1billion."
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«...3M recently reported that it invests...

Consider the following:

1. I said that I am a student.
2. I said that I was a student.

The first sentence expresses that I am still a student, as I was at the moment I said it.

From the second sentence it follows only that I was a student when I said that. Now it can be either true or not. This is where Sequence of Tenses works.

As to the second problem «...news was that... have saved...», I am not sure. I am confused by the comma after «1995». What is it for?

I wouldn't say «from 1993 to 1996 I have read thirty five books», I'd use Past Simple instead.

Well, let's see what the experts will say...
Only have saved is incorrect. From the viewpoint of 1997, it should have been:

The real news was that from 1973 to 1995 its ... projects (had) saved the company ...

Present perfect is not used when a specific time (or time period) in the past is mentioned (from 1973 to 1995).

Expressions like recently reported, just reported, just said, just told, ... are likely to be followed by a present tense, particularly if what is reported or said is still happening. This is correct. (The use of the past there is also correct, of course.)

CJ
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So Kilimanjaro has found a grammar mistake in News Week!?

And what about the punctuation. Is it ok?
Apparently the editors of Newsweek believed the punctuation and grammar were correct.
I would have punctuated as shown above.

CJ
Yeah, I don't get your point, Jim.

Above you wrote:
«Only have saved is incorrect. From the viewpoint of 1997...»

Then, in the same post:
«...particularly if what is reported or said is still happening. This is correct.»

I am sure it stopped happening in the end of 1995...

And later:
«Apparently the editors of Newsweek believed the punctuation and grammar were correct.»

So, please, could you write again whether it is correct or not (the use the Present Perfect) and why?
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I understand the first three tense constructions but not the last one "have saved the company". Actually, what motivated me to post the message here is the last part as I could hardly make a connection between the first part and the last part of the paragraph. The date of the issue is 1997 but the date in the paragraph when the action took place is, 1993-1995, which is "Past"
So, please, could you write again whether it is correct or not (the use the Present Perfect) and why?

One of two issues discussed above was this:

Of the four portions highlighted in red, only the last one (have saved) is not correct.
The use of the present perfect tense there is incorrect because a past period of time is mentioned in the same sentence. Sentences like

*From last September to last December, the company has saved $100,000.
*Last year I have seen a lot of movies.
*Five years ago they have built a cabin in the woods.


are not correct because the time period implied by the present perfect includes the present. An adverb which places the action exclusively in the past would contradict the meaning of the present perfect tense, so the combination is wrong.

I was implying that the editors of Newsweek may have looked this over somewhat hastily and missed the mistake.
_______

The other issue of the two was that of having a reporting verb in the past and what is reported in the present. Such a combination is correct. This issue has nothing to do with present perfect tense.

CJ
Thank you Jim. Your clear-cut explanation is excellent.
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