Please look at the following

a) During the last year, two shops have been built in the city centre of town.

Can anyone please tell me why has present perfect been used and why not simple past?

b) During the last year, two shops were built in the city centre of town.

What is the difference between the a) and b) ?

Please explain to me clearly, as it is really confusing me.

Thank you.

  • 2
    There are many, many sentences where both the present perfect and the simple past are both grammatical. This is one of them. In this case, there is no real difference in meaning. May 7 '16 at 14:28
  • Peter sir, look at the following examples. Is there any difference in meaning in them? a) He wrote ten very creative short stories during the last year. b) He has written ten very creative short stories during the last year. c) During the past week, Chris answered the phone. d) During the past week, Chris has answered the phone. Please tell me how what is the difference between the 'simple past' usage and 'present perfect' usage in the examples. Thank you.
    – Policewala
    May 7 '16 at 14:54
  • (a) and (b) are both fine, with no real difference in meaning. The difference between (c) and (d) is that I would understand (c) to mean that Chris usually answered the phone last week—maybe the person who ordinarily answers the phone was away—and (d) to mean that Chris has answered the phone at least a few times last week—maybe he never answered the phone at all before last week. May 7 '16 at 15:08
  • What's the difference between this question and the one you asked on ELL? During past week? It is not the first time that you cross-posted a question on both ELU and ELL. Don't do that.
    – user140086
    May 7 '16 at 16:04
  • Peter sir many thanks for your reply. When I say 'during the past week Chris answered the phone' does it mean the week starting from today? Or does it mean the last week that went by, starting from Monday till Sunday? And in during the past week Chris has answered the phone'' does this include today or just the week that has ended? Please help me sir.
    – Policewala
    May 8 '16 at 3:13

"In|during the last year" refers to a period of time stretching backwards one year, from today. If I ask you for the number of robberies committed in the precinct during the last year, I'm asking you to go back a full year when gathering the data. Today's robberies would be included in the dataset. Present and past are perceived as contiguous when we say "in|during the last year".

Last year on the other hand would refer to the past as detached from the present. There's a clear demarcation. "Last year" refers to the previous calendar year. In 2016, last year would refer to 2015.

We can use the present perfect to convey the notion that the past event is somehow connected to, or relevant to, the present.

There have been 312 robberies in the precinct in the last year.

  • Thanks dear Tim and Peter sirs. But please answer my question concerning the example sentences I quoted above. I am at a loss to understand when and in what context I must use them. Could you be so kind as to explain to me in detail the difference and also the usage? Thank you.
    – Policewala
    May 7 '16 at 14:48
  • Questions about the present perfect abound on the sister site. I suggest you visit there and look around. ell.stackexchange.com
    – TRomano
    May 7 '16 at 14:58

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