In which cases present perfect is equal (exactly or in common usage) to past tense? For example, these two questions have pretty much no difference in common usage (as far as I'm aware):

"Have I got it right?"


"Did I get it right?"

When grammar book teaches the rules of the English language it often explains the tenses by listing the kinds of actions or situations in which the tense is used. For example, the present perfect tense is used for actions completed in the very recent past, etc. This is the kind of answer I expect. But if you have another way to answer, please do it your way.

  • That's a question that indicates frustration, but not forethought. What kind of answer would you expect, if there were one? Oct 2, 2020 at 15:54
  • @JohnLawler I've updated the question
    – Daniel
    Oct 2, 2020 at 16:26
  • 1
    Thank you. The kind of rule you mention is incorrect. And if it just lists a few situations, it won't tell you everything. No one can tell you what situations the past tense or the present perfect construction would be equivalent, because there are an infinite number of such situations. What you need is a rule that works and covers everything. Which means complete rules for use of both the past and the perfect, to see which cases intersect. Here's a set of rules for the use of the present perfect, for instance. Oct 2, 2020 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


Both refer to the past. It is question of the immediacy of the events.

Say we met yesterday and you asked me a question. We parted ways for you to consider my answer. When we meet today I might ask: "Did I get it right?" as my answer was not given in the immediate past.

If we meet today and you ask me a question which I answer and I immediately want to know if my answer is correct, I might ask: "Have I got it right?"

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.