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Can a question in the simple past be answered with present perfect? For instance, if someone said

I bought some milk five hours ago."

could I answer

Where have you put it?

I know I can use the simple past here, but could I use the present perfect here as well if I'm interested in where the milk is now?

  • Yes............................ (And in British English the present perfect might be the preferred form.) – AmE speaker Oct 18 '17 at 20:31
  • But using the perfect present doesn't stress where it is now. If you want to do that, use the simple present, where is it? – AmE speaker Oct 18 '17 at 20:33
  • @Clare I'd say present perfect stresses the need to know the present whereabouts equally, without sounding as abrupt as the present. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 18 '17 at 21:28
  • Possible duplicate of Interplay of tenses – AmE speaker Oct 18 '17 at 21:51
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Sure you can. Very keen of you to notice the momemtary feeling of non-sequitur that results as we are so used to parroting the question in the answer. People also sometimes use that technique as a subtle way to correct another's grammar, as I am sure you have also noticed!

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