I've been rewriting a known quote:

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

I used the Present Perfect and turned the quote into:

Curiosity has killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

I'm not sure whether it should be "... but satisfaction has brought it back", since I started with Present Perfect. But "... satisfaction brought it back" feels more natural.

I think it makes more sense because the satisfaction just simply "brought it back", it's not something that is continuing to happen in the past, even though the curiosity that killed the cat is an optionally on-going event, so it also makes the next related event to be a part of it and become on-going, although, I also believe the usage of Present Perfect in the beginning gets the rest of the sentence included and for that reason you won't need to double-use Present Perfect.

Uuuh. Thanks in advance. :)

  • 1
    "Curiosity has killed the cat" makes it sound like the recent past. That form would be acceptable only if the second part were "but satisfaction has brought it back.'
    – TrevorD
    May 23, 2016 at 0:21
  • @TrevorD So basically you say that it is incorrect for Present Perfect and Past Simple to be at the same sentence like this one. Right?
    – Pancake
    May 23, 2016 at 11:44
  • I regret I'm not familiar enough with the names of all the tenses, but having written semi-legal documents for part of my career, I am reasonably familiar with what is and is not (or does & does not sound) appropriate. Sorry to be a bit vague.
    – TrevorD
    May 23, 2016 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


As I explained to my Swiss friend, the past tense in English is used to denote an event that occurred at a specific time in the past, whereas the present perfect is used for an event that occurred at some unspecified time in the past up to present time. The past perfect refers to an event which occurred at any time in the past up to a specific point in time in the past. Ex. "I had not been to that restaurant until last Tuesday." Either example in the question are acceptable, but consistent tenses should be used. Although a specific time is not given in "Curiosity killed the cat....", it is implied.

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