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I was told that use of perfect aspect of present tense is incorrect in the context below as thinking action is discrete event and there isn't any relevance with the current situation. (Context is a situation where I've been looking for my keys for the last couple of minutes and my friend informs me where the keys are. Just a minute ago my friend informs me the same information comes to my mind)

My friend: The keys are on the desk.

Me: I have thought the same thing.

I was told that instead of "I have thought the same thing" it is correct to use "I thought the same thing" or "I was thinking the same thing."

My questions then concern the two examples below:

Example 1

My friend: The keys are on the desk.

Me: I have just thought the same thing

Example 2

My friend: The keys are on the desk.

Me: I just thought the same thing

Similar to the use of "I have thought the same thing" is Example 1 incorrect to use (present perfect + Just)? Does present perfect fit semantically in this context with or without time adverb "just"?

Can I use Example 2 (simple past +just)? Because several resources indicate that present perfect + just and simple past +just essentially mean the same thing. Is there any semantical difference between Example 1 & Example 2?

  • None of these alternatives strikes me as idiomatic English. In that situation I would say something like "The same thought has just occurred to me." Incidentally, you can't use 'ago' in that way. The third sentence should read "Just a minute before my friend informs me,..." – Kate Bunting Dec 31 '17 at 16:47
  • Hi Kate Bunting, I agree with you. However I am just asking with regard to my sentence constructions though they might sound non-idiomatic.If "I have thought the same thing" isn't acceptable I believe with time adverb just "I have just thought the same thing" shouldn't be acceptable either. "Just" shouldn't have any effect on the logic of using perfect aspect of present tense. Do you agree? – bart Dec 31 '17 at 17:04
  • To me, "I have thought the same thing" suggests that I am talking about thoughts that I had at some unspecified time in the past. I wouldn't say that when speaking of an idea that I had a moment ago about the current situation. – Kate Bunting Dec 31 '17 at 17:21
  • Does "I have just thought the same thing" make any relevance with current situation then? I think simple past is the only appropriate tense here. – bart Dec 31 '17 at 17:29
  • Yes, obviously "I have just thought the same thing" refers to the current situation, though it would be more natural to say "I have just had the same thought". – Kate Bunting Jan 1 '18 at 9:12

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