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Given that English is not my first language, I was wondering how to express a verb that started and ended in the past but that has a repercussion in the present moment... Is it correct to say “spent my life developing the perfect recipe only managed to keep me away from my passion”? (The sentence is just an example, but I hope it is sufficiently explanatory)

  • I don't think you understand the present perfect. If somebody "spent their life" doing something, the only reason you couldn't use the present perfect is if they're dead. – Peter Shor Jan 18 at 19:34
  • So “spent” is right only if the person is dead, otherwise is “have spent”? “Have spent my life developing the perfect recipe only managed to keep me away from my passion” is correct...? – ZenithNadir Jan 18 at 19:43
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    'spent my life developing the perfect recipe only managed to keep me away from my passion' is not a sentence. Do you mean spending so that spending my life developing the perfect recipe is the subject of the verb managed? Then your question is about whether it should be managed or has managed. – Shoe Jan 18 at 19:46
  • Yes! I would like to express the spending of my life as the subject of the sentence! So it is correct if I say “spending my life developing the perfect recipe has only managed to...”, isn’t it? – ZenithNadir Jan 18 at 19:57
  • Yes, you need the present perfect because you are still experiencing the repercussions. – Shoe Jan 18 at 19:59
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If you want to talk about an action as something that caused something, then the action is functioning as a noun (it's a thing that is doing stuff). A noun formed from a verb is a gerund. So it would be "Spending my life ..."

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