I have always wondered whether "this morning" is present or past. Ofcourse I searched for the right tense and come across "have seen" is being used more.

So grammatically present perfect is appropriate but isn't "this morning" a completed period in the past ?

We ask "Have you had breakfast(morning) ?" when we are still in the morning and ask "Did you have breakfast(morning) ?" after the morning time was over i.e., in the afternoon/evening.

So according to this, Isn't "I saw her this morning" (assuming I told this to my friend in the evening of the same day) the correct grammatical way to say ?

  • Consider this sentence: It sure is some lovely weather we're having this morning. This sentence isn't referring to the past, now is it? – Le Sunstrike Oct 28 '15 at 4:54
  • If it's afternoon, morning is past tense. If it's in the past, it doesn't matter how recent or remote it is, the past tense is used unless it effects the present. Long story short, your last sentence is, indeed, correct. – anongoodnurse Oct 28 '15 at 4:54
  • @LeSunstrike "we're having this morning" this sentence says you are still in the morning. Ofcourse the sentence isn't referring to the past. Your comment doesn't clear my doubt. – Vinay Oct 28 '15 at 4:59
  • @medica But I have seen her this morning is being used more and also I was taught to use present perfect while in school but only after I started learning more about grammar, I got this doubt. Which is preferable in WRITTEN GRAMMATICAL ENGLISH ? – Vinay Oct 28 '15 at 5:03
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    Do you realize that all caps is rude? Be nice. People will respond better to niceness. – anongoodnurse Oct 28 '15 at 5:06

You are correct. I would usually use the present perfect here only during that same morning, just as you stated: "I have seen her"—completed action, perfect—"this morning"—within a timeframe that's still occurring, present.

In what context are you finding the present perfect here? I suppose it might be a dialect thing.

  • I have heard most people saying this in everyday conversations. – Vinay Oct 28 '15 at 5:05
  • @Vinay Interesting. In that case I'm not sure: sometimes the perfect is used for added emphasis ("No, really, I have done it!") but to me it still sounds not quite grammatical in this instance. – Draconis Oct 28 '15 at 5:08

The present perfect tense requires use of a non-specific time; this morning, grammatically speaking, is a specific time (as is yesterday, last week, last year, and in 1947), and therefore you must use the present simple tense (I saw her this morning), regardless of what time it is now. However, you could say, "I have seen her since this morning," which creates a non-specific window of time between this morning and now in which she was seen (and yes, you could say this at 10am and it would still be correct).

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