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I was wondering if it's right to say "This is the first car I have ever purchased since I have gotten my driving license".

My question is regarding both of the "I have" usages. Also, when do I need to use “I have” and when not?

thanks

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  • Note that in the American English, it is a "driver's license". – Steven Burnap May 16 at 23:17
  • In the US it depends on the state. Mine says "Driver License" at the top. – GEdgar May 17 at 11:08
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This sentence sounds odd to me. I would say, "This is the first car I ever purchased since I got my driving license."

Have is used with present tense, which is not the case here since you are talking about the past.

  • P.S. To make it even more accurate (doesn't relate to what you asked) I would in fact say, "This is the first car I ever purchased after I got my driving license." – Akshansh Vaid May 16 at 10:05
  • "since" sounds more natural. – Steven Burnap May 16 at 23:17
  • Since has a sense of continuity to it. Since this is an action that has been done at one point of time, 'after' is a better fit. Since would be a better fit along with continuous actions, for example: The city's air quality has degraded since the trees in the area were cut down. – Akshansh Vaid May 17 at 11:58
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I would say “This is the first car I have purchased since I got my driver’s license.”

It is incorrect to use the word “ever” because it is not necessarily the first car you have ever purchased. It is merely the first car you have purchased since you got your license. Perhaps you bought several cars already before you got your license.

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I would argue that speaker choice (potentially due to cognitive confusion over time references) best accounts for variations in sentences beginning This is the first time. See below for additional comments specifically regarding use of get in this sentence.

Common convention dictates the use of the present perfect in the phrase

This is the first/second/third time (that) I + present perfect

This follows the general rule that experiences in your life until now, generally lacking a specific time reference require the use of present perfect. That said, I can't really see any issue with the use of past simple, even if it sounds a bit strange:

This is the first time he hit the ball out of bounds

Regarding the since clause, the choice of tense is dependent on whether the time phrase describes a point in time, or a period (duration) of time. Note:

This is the first time I've seen the sun since we arrived in Italy (point in past)

This is the first time I've seen the sun since we have been in Italy (duration until now)

The confusion with the since clause in your sentence is due to the use of the verb 'get' which has an evolved meaning of have as in have got (possession) in addition to its original meaning here of obtain. Hence both choices are grammatically accurate depending on the meaning of got/gotten

This is the first car I have ever purchased since I got my driving license (obtained - must be a specific point in time in the past)

This is the first car I have ever purchased since I have gotten my driving license (have had - duration, i.e you still have your license now)

A final point/question, just to throw in a spanner is why we don't use the present perfect in the first verb phrase - as it accurately reflects the rules and usage for the present perfect:

i.e This has been the first time I have purchased a car....

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