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This link states that:

When you use the present perfect tense you have to be talking about a period of time that you still consider to be going on. For example, if it’s still morning, you can say, "I’ve shaved this morning." If it is afternoon or evening, all of a sudden "I’ve shaved this morning" sounds really weird.

"I've shaved this morning" sounds more like past perfect, and indication of specific time (in the morning) makes this sentence incorrect. Am I spot it on?

Then what is the difference between the construct of past perfect and present perfect and future perfect?

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The link is correct. Past perfect would be I had shaved that morning. I don't think you'd ever say I had shaved this morning or I have shaved that morning, because that would be using past perfect for the present or present perfect for the past. –  Peter Shor May 17 '11 at 12:32
    
please explain the down-vote? Please re-read the question. I'm looking for a very specific distinction in perfect verb tenses. –  Anderson Silva May 17 '11 at 12:36
    
It wasn't my downvote. I suspect this question has been asked before here (the only good reason I can think of for a downvote on this question), but if you want to downvote for that reason, you should provide a link to another question which answers this one. Maybe this one, although I don't think it quite covers examples like the OPs. –  Peter Shor May 17 '11 at 12:39
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Possible duplicate of How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another?, Present perfect tense versus past tense, and a ton of others. "The difference between construct of past perfect and present perfect and future perfect" is explained here. –  RegDwigнt May 17 '11 at 12:49
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"I have read your letter this morning" is not wrong. –  Kosmonaut May 17 '11 at 13:22

1 Answer 1

up vote 11 down vote accepted

"I've shaved this morning" has the verb in present perfect tense ("I've shaved"). "I'd shaved that morning when my friend walked in" would be past perfect ("I'd shaved"). As the link states, using the present perfect is fine with a specific time like "this morning" as long as it is still the morning.

Present perfect is used when an action begun in the past has a connection to the present. There can be many different ways to connect an action to the present.

  • The action can still be ongoing: "I've worked out for 40 minutes, and I'm going to keep going for another 20 minutes".

  • The action can be completed right around the present time: "I've finished my cup of coffee, so let's go out."

  • You can express if you have ever done something in your life (or some timeframe) up until now: "I've flown a plane before; I did it once 10 years ago."

As you can see, there is no singular rule that says "this type of time expression will always be right/wrong with present perfect". You just have to have a connection to the present.

So, applying this more specifically to your concerns:

  • "I've shaved this morning" when it is the morning = correct
  • "I've shaved this morning" when it is the evening = incorrect
  • "I've shaved in the morning" = incorrect if you do not intend any connection to the present, but correct if your meaning is "in my life up to now, I have shaved in the morning at least once".

In summary, the sentence is not incorrect, and the construction is, in fact, the present perfect.

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it might be worth clarifying, in the first paragraph, that present and past refer to the auxiliary verb (have/had), not the main verb, which uses its past participle in both cases. –  Steve Melnikoff May 17 '11 at 15:33
    
@Steve Melnikoff: Actually, it is the entire construction, i.e. auxiliary verb + main verb, that comprises present/past perfect tense. –  Kosmonaut May 17 '11 at 16:20
    
I didn't explain that very well. What I meant is, the difference between the two forms is determined by the tense of the auxiliary verb. Hence why I thought it might be an idea to emphasise that. –  Steve Melnikoff May 17 '11 at 19:09

protected by RegDwigнt Mar 11 at 3:23

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