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Please look at the following,

a) I finished my work this week.

This means I am either speaking at the end of the week or that I am speaking on any day of the week expecting no more work for the week. Am I right? Or are there few other scenarios? If yes, then please let me know.

b) I have finished my work this week.

Please tell me how this sentence is different from the above one? I fail to understand the difference.

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, Mitch, David, Davo, Skooba Oct 2 '17 at 12:47

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  • There are other scenarios. For example, "I finished my work this week" might mean that you had a large project that you have been working on for several months, and that you finished it this week. – Peter Shor May 9 '16 at 1:55
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The simple past, as in

I finished my work this week.

is used expresses an action that started and finished at a specific time in the past. Your explanation is correct: Your week's work is finished.

The present perfect, as in

I have finished my work this week.

is used to express an action that took place in the past and that still informs the present--though your week's work is done, your present condition is still in some sense being affected by this work.

In these examples, the difference is very difficult to discern, and in fact one may use them interchangeably without intending to convey different meanings. But consider another example:

He sang in church for two years.

This is simple past, and it means that he sang at church for some two year period in the past, and that he is no longer singing in church at all. That is done, and has no bearing on his present situation.

He has sung in church for two years.

This is the present perfect, and it means that for the past two years, he has been singing in church, and this is something that he will continue to do. He did it last week, and he will do it next week, just as he has done (present perfect) for the past two years--the past still informs the present.

In the particular examples you give, I would say that either could be used with equal meaning--that a speaker would not necessarily intend to suggest that, having finished his work, he is no longer affected by it, or that he is (by "affected" I mean that he is tired at this time as a result of the work he had to do, or that he is now ready to go on vacation because the work is done--some present condition hinges on what happened in the past). People just don't speak that precisely. In the example of singing in church, however, I hope you can see that the difference is quite clear. In other words, there are cases where the information conveyed is important enough that people will carefully craft the tense they use, while in other cases, they won't, because the meaning just isn't affected all that much by saying it one way or the other.

  • Thank you surlawda. If I were to say 'He sang in church in the last two years,' Is this correct? If yes, then is it not contradictory because on the one hand we are using simple past to say he sang, so it has no effect on the present, but on the other hand we are using 'in the last two years' which effectively mean the time frame extends upto the present. So this is confusing me a lot. Please help me sir. Thank you. – Policewala May 9 '16 at 3:15
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    'He sang in church in the last two years' means he will not be singing there anymore. For example: Q: "Will John be singing next week?" A: "Well, he has sung the past two years, so I assume he will be there next week." [What has been done in the past still has meaning at the current moment.] OR Q: "Will John be singing here next week?" A: "No. He sang here the past two years, but he has moved away." [What has been done in the past has no meaning at the current moment] – user66965 May 9 '16 at 3:30
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    Note that in the second example, I say "he has moved away"--because this action from the past, his moving away, does have meaning at the current moment. "He sang" (simple past)--that's done, it has nothing to do with current conditions; "he has moved away" (present perfect)--this describes an action in the past that affects the present and the future (he won't be singing here anymore). – user66965 May 9 '16 at 3:41
  • Thank you sur. But look at this sentence here 'During the past week, Chris has answered the phone' and 'During the past week, Chris answered the phone'. My question is does 'during the past week' here mean the week that just went by or to the seven-day period ending today? If it means the week that went by, then is 'during the past week, Chris has answered the phone' correct? I took this example from an explanation offered on this website that suggested that he was talking about the week that just passed, so I got confused. I will give yo uthe link to it in the next post. Thanks – Policewala May 9 '16 at 4:08
  • Here is the link in which the user says he means 'during the past week' as the week that just went by ell.stackexchange.com/questions/42951/… – Policewala May 9 '16 at 4:09
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" I finished my work this week " is simple past. Which mean, an example, a staff who work at a company he has to do his work everyday but he seem has to finish weekly report every week and also "he finished his work this week" like when he is talking at present.

" I have finished my work this week " is past perfect.

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