I was cycling with a friend a few weeks ago. When we arrived at the top of the climb, I said

I am pleased we have come here.

He corrected me by saying that I should have said

I am pleased we came here.

In my opinion, the present perfect is better suited to the context since I wanted to focus on how the action connected to the present, how it changed things for me in the present (I am pleased). Moreover, we were still there when I said that. I think that if I had said it after we had left that place, the past tense would have been appropriate: "I am pleased we went there". But for unfinished time frames, I think the present perfect should be used.

Could you, please, let me know your opinions about this?

Thanks, Dan


Both sentences sound a bit weird to me, but they are not incorrect. It looks like that you want to say that you're happy that the climb is done. In that case, using the verb arrive might have been better:

I am pleased we have arrived here.

In this sentence, the fact that you arrived on the top still has effect on the present, namely because you are pleased about it. Therefore, I would indeed use the present perfect.

However, I don't think using the past simple here would have been incorrect, as in:

I am pleased we arrived here.

I also think that both sentences would be correct when using the verb "come" instead of "arrive", for the same reasons as the sentences are correct when using the word "arrive".

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  • Thanks for your answer. Actually, I didn't really mean I was happy that the climb was done, I wasn't particularly tired. It had been raining and we had serious doubts about whether we could do the climb at all. We decided to do it in spite of the rain. When we got to the top and had a nice view from up there, I was pleased we had gone there in spite of everything. Therefore, the verb "come" sounds more appropriate to me than "arrive". Do you agree? But my question was about the use of the present perfect rather than the simple past although I know they are both correct. Thanks again, Dan – Dan Aug 16 '16 at 15:24

If you are trying to show pleasure with the trip upwards, then your sentence is OK, but the perfect aspect is usually avoided in common speech. If this was the first time together at that spot, then the 'perfect' is redundant and simple 'past' will do. If you had done it before, then the adverbial 'today' would disambiguate the 'past': "I am pleased [that] we came here, today."

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  • I don't agree at all that "the perfect aspect is usually avoided in common speech". I wonder if this is a US/UK thing: I think the perfect is more ommon in British speech. In this particular phrase, "I'm glad we came" seems more idiomatic than "I'm glad we've come", but both are perfectlty normal to me. (I've used "glad" because that is more natural to me than "pleased" here). – Colin Fine Aug 16 '16 at 20:30
  • In the mid-west US, we try to sound 'simple' (to respect our ancestors?). The 'perfect' is used whenever it is needed, but we prefer 'simple' if the meaning is clear. – AmI Aug 16 '16 at 20:38
  • Thanks Colin for your answer. I also think that the perfect is more common in British speech. My friend is English but has lived in America for a few years now, so he may have been 'contaminated'. On the other hand, I think I actually said "I'm glad we've come", I don't know why I wrote "pleased" earlier today. Why do you think that "I'm glad we came" is more idiomatic? Thanks again, Dan – Dan Aug 16 '16 at 22:44
  • I hope Colin would agree that "I'm glad we came" is a common idiom because the simple has fewer morphemes and it's meaning is clear enough (unless the coming occurred more than once). – AmI Aug 19 '16 at 22:26

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