I'm sometimes confused about the difference between present perfect and simple past sentences such as the ones in the title. In what kind of situation do you guys say "Where have I parked my car" or " Where did I park my car?"

Thanks in advance.

  • 2
    You may find the English Language Learners site better able to help you with this type of question.
    – WS2
    May 6, 2016 at 18:18

2 Answers 2


Well, the difference between present perfect and present simple is so clear. Present simple can only be used when the exact place and time are determined, while in present perfect care is not necessary taken for time and place, despite that both of them are used for past. One of the main other differences which can answer your question is that, in present perfect an action can be started in the past but it can be ended just recently, while in past tense the action is started and ended in the past. Please take your examples as follows:

1: “Where have I parked my car” It specifically means that, you have just parked your car somewhere, which is not determined and you are currently searching to find out the parking area. This sentence can be used as interjection (!) as well.

2: “where did I park my car” This sentence is totally different, it means that car was parked in a specific time, you were searching to find it out and subsequently you have asked someone about it in the past.

This is what I know about both tenses, will be glad to have other peers comments on my answer as well.

Regards Asif

  • Probably would be more clear outside of a question, considering the question itself indicates lack of clarity regarding where the car is parked.
    – Unrelated
    May 6, 2016 at 19:01
  • Both expressions would be equally acceptable (at least in BrE) in the context of someone currently trying to remember where they parked their car.
    – TrevorD
    May 6, 2016 at 23:13
  • So, both sentences can be used interchangeably? I mean, if I am in a parking area and looking for my car which I parked an hour ago, can I either say "Where did I park my car" or "Where have I parked my car?" It seems to me that the present perfect sentence is more restricted in use.
    – George
    May 7, 2016 at 5:43
  • @Mohammad Asif, an apology: it looks like I ACCIDENTALLY downvoted your answer. Must've been finger-trouble while using my iPhone, sorry. I can't now upvote it - my reply is locked. May 9, 2016 at 13:34
  1. where have I parked my car - you have a problem now! 2. ...where did I park my car - you tell your wife what happened this afternoon. (she wants to know why are you late...)

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