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I have come across a couple confusing sentences when hiding (ignoring) requests on Facebook.

The first response message was:

You hid a FarmVille request sent by John Doe

and the second was

You have hidden a FarmVille request sent by John Doe.

Which is more correct and why? Are they both correct?

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Related: How do the tenses relate temporally to each other?. –  Robusto Oct 31 '11 at 18:29
They're both grammatically correct, but I think most people would prefer have hidden over hid in this context. That's because it's a somewhat unusual specialised context where we normally only use the verb forms hide (on a button you can click to remove something from the display), and hidden (which is what we normally call such "non-visible" text). –  FumbleFingers Oct 31 '11 at 18:31
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1 Answer 1

The difference is that the first is in the past tense (You hid) and the second is in the present perfect (You have hidden). Neither is incorrect and both mean essentially the same thing.

There are two differences: one is that the past implies a one-time action in the past, whereas the present perfect can refer to a more continuous action in the past. See this tenses chart for a temporal diagram. However, since in this context there is only one possible way to hide a request (you did it one time, not continuously), it means the same thing either way.

The second difference is, as pointed out in the first comment below, that the present perfect "implies that the action still relates to the present". When you say "You hid a request", it sounds like history (not relevant to your immediate situation); but when you say "You have hidden a request", it sounds as if either you just did it, or that you are going to need to make a decision about that past action.

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Furthermore, "you have hidden" implies that the action still relates to the present. "You hid" would make someone think of a longer time, something that was completed before. You would say "You hid a basket last Easter," but if today were Easter you would probably say "I know you have hidden the baskets already, but can I put in these chocolate bars?" –  Brendon Oct 31 '11 at 18:36
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