What is the difference between following 2 sentences? Can you please explain me the meaning of both?

  1. "I have eaten my lunch"
  2. "I ate my lunch"

Thanks a lot for helping.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, RyeɃreḁd, phenry, Rory Alsop, Matt E. Эллен Feb 20 '14 at 13:39

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  • Both mean the same thing. The first is more formal. The second is more conversational. Most people wouldn't say the first one. – jeremy Feb 18 '14 at 2:44
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    1 is present perfect. 2 is past. – nohat Feb 18 '14 at 3:53

I ate my lunch.

This is the simple past and means that an event occurred sometime in the past. Nothing more needs to be added.

I have eaten my lunch.

The present perfect is a grammatical combination of the present tense and the perfect aspect, used to express a past event that has present consequences. Though it is used to express the simple past, the construction is better used to express something as a consequence:

I have eaten my lunch, and I'm ready to work.

  • 1
    The thing I find amazing is that I wouldn't have known the answer to that question until I learned foreign languages. English is so easy to muddle through with the barest grasp of grammar! – David M Feb 18 '14 at 3:59
  • It's worth noting that the present perfect implies a very recent past (at least in this usage), vs. the simple past which can imply anything from 2 seconds ago all the way back to birth in a case like this. – David M Feb 18 '14 at 4:01
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    @DavidM, I'm pretty sure that present perfect is perfectly fine for an event no matter how far back in the past, e.g. "I have eaten my lunch almost every day of my life" goes back a fair way... – Jeffrey Kemp Feb 18 '14 at 7:37
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    @DavidM - I agree with you. As a native speaker, it sounds relatively recent to my ear as well, although I would say I just ate... The fun part of this is learning about our native language. – anongoodnurse Feb 18 '14 at 13:32
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    @JeffreyKemp et al This reminds me of Groucho Marx's most brilliant joke (not to start another debate!): "I've had a wonderful time; this wasn't it!" In this case, good old Groucho is using the listener's expectation that he is talking about a recent event using the present perfect, and then subverting their expectation for comedic effect. The fact that it works so well shows the universal assumption at work. (I hope that's the present perfect, I do get confused!) So, while I agree that it works grammatically, context plays a big part here! – David M Feb 18 '14 at 15:23

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