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How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another?
When is the present perfect tense used instead of the past tense?
When will “Present Perfect vs. Past Tense” cases be affected by culture?

I'm having hard time to understand when do we use "They've insist" and "They insisted". As I'm aware of, you can't say "They've insisted".

For example, I would like to say, "They have insist to take a picture with me" sound same as "They insisted to take a picture with me". On which situations I should use one of this sentences?

This is probably very often question asked here but nobody can't tell me straightforward answer.

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Jan 23 '13 at 18:01

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.

  • 1
    They've insist never occurs, but they've insisted certainly does. – Barrie England Jan 23 '13 at 17:36
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    You must mean them the other way round: they insist and they've insisted. The first happens in the present and the second in the past. – spiceyokooko Jan 23 '13 at 17:49
  • Please have a look at the linked questions. The first one provides a general overview of how the different tenses in English correspond to one another. The second one, and the related questions linked from there, addresses the choice between Present Perfect and Simple Past more directly. The third one addresses an important difference between British and American English. – RegDwigнt Jan 23 '13 at 18:04
  • In fact we have an entire tag dedicated to choosing between the two tenses. Have a look. Do note, as others have pointed out already, that your very premise is wrong. It is "they've insisted" that is grammatical, and "they've insist" that is wrong. You might be interested in our sister site specifically for English language learners, which is about to get created. Feel free to commit and post. Thank you. – RegDwigнt Jan 23 '13 at 18:08

They insisted is the simple past tense, which is the general way of expressing a past event.

They have insisted is the present perfect tense, which is used to express a past event that has consequences in the present day.

The decision of which one to use would depend on what you're trying to say. For example:

They insisted on taking a picture with me yesterday. (simple past)

They have insisted on taking a picture with me, so I need to go down to the portrait studio. (present perfect, because the consequence is that you now need to leave)

They have insist is just plain incorrect.

Notice also that the more natural form is "insisted on taking" rather than "insisted to take". One does not normally insist to something.

  • My understanding is that present perfect ("have <past-participle>") is used to convey that an event happened in the past at a time that cannot be known, cannot be expressed (e.g. because it's not a single time point), or that the speaker does not want to convey. – thang Jan 23 '13 at 17:54

It's okay to say "they've insisted," actually, but better to say "they insisted."

"They have insist to take a picture with me" is not correct. If it's past tense:

They have insisted to take a picture with me.

Which I would phrase as

They insisted that we take a picture together

If it's present tense:

They insist that we take a picture.

This is an interesting situation because you can use either present or past without sounding odd: If you're telling a friend, "They insist that we take a picture together," it's considered okay; and it's also fine to say "They insisted that we take a picture together."

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