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How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another?

If I say "I have worked in a supermarket." does it mean that all the work is in the past and that now, I definitely do not work in a supermarket?

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marked as duplicate by Mahnax, FumbleFingers, jwpat7, Robusto, Mitch Feb 29 '12 at 21:21

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Ordinarily, I have worked [somewhere] does indeed mean this was something in the past that no longer applies. But there are exceptions. For example, suppose you had worked in a supermarket some time ago, and today you've just started another job in a supermarket. The manager starts telling you a lot of details about how to do the job. You could say to him "I have worked in a supermarket before, so I already know all this." Even though at the time of speaking now you are working in a supermarket (I think it would have to be a different one, though, for that to work). – FumbleFingers Feb 28 '12 at 23:42
@Mahnax: Thank you so much for turning up that original! I think we'll be redirecting a lot of questions there in future! – FumbleFingers Feb 28 '12 at 23:44
@FumbleFingers—Just doing my duty, sir. – user11550 Feb 28 '12 at 23:50

Is present perfect necessarily definitive action in past?

No. The present perfect tense is used in many occasions for something that started in the past and continues in the present. For example:

  • I have lived all my life in this little city.
  • I have worked here since 2009.
  • I have worked in supermarkets all my life.
  • It has been raining for hours.
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It depends on context: "I have kept your trust" does not imply I am now betraying you, but "I have read your book" does imply that I have finished reading your book.

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