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What do these mean? If they're not correct, why?

1. I realized that you were the best thing that ever happened to me.
2. I realized that you were the best thing that has ever happened to me.
3. I realized that you were the best thing that had ever happened to me.

4. I realized that you are the best thing that ever happened to me.
5. I realized that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.
6. I realized that you are the best thing that had ever happened to me.

Thanks. Sorry for the tiresome list.
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Comments  
let`s think about the present pertect , what is the present perfect ? it`s something that started at the nonspecific time at the past and may or may not be still happening at the present. However, most of the times, we are interested in its result .... I realized "past simple " that you are " present simple ", the best thing that " has ever happened to me "now " since when you realized in the past, up to now, You have been the best thing that has ever happened to you ! (4, 5, 6, )

so you realized at the past, but now see it`s the best thing that has ever happened to you since when you realized up to now !

the correct one is " I realized that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me "

this sentence shows that you are no longer , the result shows that another good thing has already happened. why, when you use two sentence at the past , one after the other, it`s like the second what is there to say that is already finished ,,,

Examples 2 and 6 are a bit strange. The others are fine.

Below I use POV1 to mean Present Point of View and POV2 to mean Past Point of View.

1. is consistently in POV2.
2. shifts from POV2 to POV1 at "has ever", which is a bit jarring. ["realized" and "were" imply "then"; "has" implies "now"]
3. is consistently in POV2, the "had ever" indicating an even more remote past, i.e., anteriority to the past.
4. is consistently in POV1. "realized" is anterior to the present. "are" is present, of course. "happened" shows anteriority to the present.
5. is consistently in POV1. Similar to 4, but "has ever ..." shows current (i.e. present) relevance as well as anteriority.
6. shifts from POV1 ("are") to POV2 ("had ever ..." - anteriority to the past), creating some dissonance.

(Though not reported speech, "realized that" produces the same type of structure as "said that" might. Therefore, the first verb is not so crucial in setting the point of view as the rest of the sentence is, i.e., the thing said or realized.)
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As they're all grammatical, all perfectly natural, all highly evident in everday language, I'd say that they illustrate that "concord of tenses" is simply nonsense. Lest there be any doubt.

CGEL: Converting into indirect reported speech however, is not a matter of applying rules of grammar that are specific to this purpose. When I make an indirect report of ... speech, I purport to give the content of what [was] said. ... This is how backshift is to be interpreted, not as converting one tense into another.

1. I realized that you were the best thing that ever happened to me.

2. I realized that you were the best thing that has ever happened to me.

The speaker is telling of a realization that happened sometime before the speaking, which is going on now. Using present perfect does two things; one, it makes the 'happened' more important, it does as Bruno mentioned, make a past action more current, more now, more, in a nutshell, important.

Two; since things that happen can be seen to be on a continuum, this present perfect is like the use of the present perfect for experience; "In all the things that have happened to me, you are the best thing.

3. I realized that you were the best thing that had ever happened to me.

Here we have a use of the past perfect where it isn't being used as the traditional rule suggests. There's no real difference when compared to 1 & 2 though it's more similar to 2 in that the use of 'had' gives it more importance. #1 is more neutral.

4. I realized that you are the best thing that ever happened to me.
5. I realized that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.
6. I realized that you are the best thing that had ever happened to me.

Since we now know that backshifting has nothing to do with tense in the sense of past time, we can see that using present tense form simply makes it much more emotive. It's not a report; it's that feeling that, though it occurred sometime before, it is still present and felt, in this case felt and expressed more strongly.

The only part that is actually finished is . But even that could shift into present tense form because it is a state, like 'understand'.

I realize [now] that you are the best thing that has ever happened [OR happened] to me.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
2. shifts from POV2 to POV1 at "has ever", which is a bit jarring. ["realized" and "were" imply "then"; "has" implies "now"]


In my opinion, Jim is mistaken here. One of the jobs of the present perfect is to make connections between past events and now.

His father's death in 1994 has [to this day] seriously affected him.
I would agree with CJ on this one.

#2 and #6 might be found in speech; but probably the speech of a person who wasn't quite sure what he wanted to say.

MrP
One of the jobs of the present perfect is to make connections between past events and now. His father's death in 1994 has [to this day] seriously affected him.

All true. But there's only one verb in the sentence, so there's no way to see how this applies to the multi-verb situation at hand.

For the sake of experiment let's place two sentences side by side like this:
He realized that he was seriously distressed that his father has died.
I realized that you were the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Nothing strange here in your opinion?
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I realized that you were the best thing that has ever happened to me.


0. ***

0. ***. BEST THING

0. ***. REALIZED

0. ***[3. SPEAKING]

0. ***[4. THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED]

You will need to maximise to see this properly.

At the moment of speaking, as JTT says, 'things that have happened' to the speaker include everything up to the moment of speaking (i.e. from 0 up to point 4).

How can he 'realize' at point 2 that the event at point 1 is the 'best thing' between point 0 and point 4? Is he psychic?

MrP
How can he 'realize' at point 2 that the event at point 1 is the 'best thing' between point 0 and point 4? Is he psychic?


A valiant effort, Mr P. You do have too much time on your hands.Emotion: wink

We agree that the moment of speaking is at point 4. 'He' is saying that at some past point, [exactly when is not important] it came to him, ie. "he realized" that 'she' was the best thing that ever happened to 'him'.

But "being the best thing" is not a singular event. "Being the best thing" did not/can not happen at one point, point 1. The little thingS 'she was/[is], the things she did/[does] gave him an epihany moment, a realization. The realization, itself, was a singularity and out of all these things it was the only singularity.

The thingS [notice the 'S'] were done continually, repeatedly, even some fresh ones thrown in but these things occurred over a stretch of time, which began when they met, BUT didn't end when the REALIZATION hit.

Speaking now, "he" uses the present perfect to 'collect' all these 'little things she did over time' and imparts to them a sense of current relevance, of IMPORTANCE. Since 'he' is speaking now, again, it's not at all unreasonable to envision that those 'little things she did, she still DOES; the things she was, she still IS. The present perfect can include those things, the things that occurred after the realization, by default.

Sitting at point 4, the speaker has a clear view of everything back to when 'he & she' met. So it doesn't matter grammatically whether 'he' chooses the present perfect or the simple past. They both end at the point that 'he' utters those immortal words. The present perfect is simply a more emotive form of the past tense.

That's why it's often used as the lead in for news stories. All news is old; the various media simply want to spice it up a bit, so they use the present perfect.
Hello JT

Let's take a parallel example:

1. I realized/ you were the best thing / that has ever happened to me.
2. I realized/ I was the oldest / I have ever been.

We should be able to apply your logic to #2, if #1 is possible.

Yet #2 is never true.

MrP
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