Although very often the present perfect simple and progressive forms can be used interchangeably. Why is the simple form necessary here. "They have completely restored their home " is it because of "completely "?

  • how else do you think this could be written? Nov 11, 2015 at 23:03
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    It's not necessary. And 'completely' is often used in the sense of 'they've done an awful lot of work'; they usually miss the bit of pointing under the flashing. Nov 11, 2015 at 23:09
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    Please show how you would write the present-perfect-progressive version. Also, some context for the sentence would be useful. Verb tenses do not exist in a vacuum -- in fact they depend on context. Thanks. Nov 11, 2015 at 23:36
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    @chasly: Does that mean if I get launched into outer space I can only use nouns, adjectives and adverbs? Also, not breathe?
    – Robusto
    Nov 13, 2015 at 14:19

4 Answers 4


Without a context, it is not possible to say that the present perfect is required, necessary, needed, or should be used. The sentence is also acceptable in other tenses : " They are completely restoring their home." "They will completely restore their home." "They completely restored their home."

The only tense that is dubious from a meaning aspect is "They completely restore their home." Restore seems to be an activity verb and to me in this case feels better with a progressive aspect. This isn't to say the present aspect cannot be used with it ("They completely restore homes.") but when you add "their" it makes the sentence specific in a way that doesn't seem to support the "fact" sense of the present aspect, which is why home is plural.

  • The simple present requires a more specific context than the other constructions in order to work, but in such a context it does work just fine. For example, imagine the following as being spoken by a narrator in a documentary: “The Watsons want to sell their house, but they cannot find buyers. They completely restore their home to make it more attractive to buyers, and after a few months, they finally find the right buyer”. Perfectly natural in that context. Apr 13, 2019 at 10:05

is it because of "completely "?

Nope. You can also say "They have partially restored their home."

A perfect tense doesn't indicate that the action completely attained the goal, just that it isn't going on any more.

I have eaten dinner. Right now, I'm not eating, but I'm in the state of having eaten: there is food in my belly and not in my place.

"I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too."
— Mitch Hedberg


As the action has been completed and no further action is required, this is the reason why this form of past tense is used

  • Except that "completely" in this sense, doesn't strongly imply "completed".
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 11, 2015 at 23:29

Perfect simple is used here as the information contains something that is new to the person spoken to. It is Perfect simple for news.

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