I'm having trouble understanding and using the so-called “perfect of recent past” aspect on the present tense. I have three related questions about this which are in bullets, two here and one at the end of my post.
Is recency the only reason to use the “perfect of recent past”, or should we use it strictly when giving a new or “hot” information?
What exactly makes us choose to use the present tense with the perfect aspect added to it instead of using the past tense without any perfect aspect? I see that the present perfect is widely used for the recent past, especially in British English.
You can find some details about the classification of the sorts of uses to which the perfect aspect is applied to the present tense in English in these two articles:
Should these six sentences following be classifed as a resultative present tense with perfect aspect or as a present tense whose perfect aspect is used for the recent past?
- I've found your passport. Here it is on the desk!
- I've attached the file (Sentence is used in the content of an e-mail)
- I'm looking for my pen. Have you seen it?
- Oh, I've dropped my coin!
- I've thought of something amazing! (Thought came to mind a short time ago)
- Your passsword has been changed.
I’m leaning more towards the so-called “resultative present perfect” with regard to the six numbered examples I've just enumerated above.
- Could it be that there isn't even any clear-cut distinction when it comes to some contexts?
To stave off potential quibbles, we should note that for convenience’ sake, instructional materials for English Language Learners regularly use the term “present perfect tense” as shorthand for the combined tense–aspect–mood construction of the verb’s present tense (where “tense” means a time-based morphological inflection of a single word, never a multiword phrase) plus the perfective aspect (which is not properly speaking a “tense” per se).
Although this is different from how the word “tense” is used in (most) materials more oriented towards linguistics studies, this shorthand does little lasting harm and avoids complicating learners’ lives while they’re focusing on learning.