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?
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
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.
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....