We had a sentence in an exam, and we were asked to choose the right tense of the verb, the sentence goes as follows

They are having dinner; they (haven't had, don't have) any problems at all.

Now the answer was (don't have) but I couldn't understand why, shouldn't it be in perfect tense, if it was to imply that no problems happened?

  • Neither option is right or wrong (unless the context made it clear which one was appropriate). "They haven't had any problems" - nothing happened earlier to make them late for dinner. "They don't have any problems" - there is nothing wrong now. – Kate Bunting May 3 at 14:51
  • Thanks, I really suffer from these sentences, no context is made clear yet they appear in exams – Khaled Oqab May 3 at 15:03
  • Also, the example sentence could be called a 'comma splice' -- two sentences joined with a comma without a conjunction -- which is not great writing. – user8356 May 3 at 16:07
  • @Khaled Oqad, Just as User8356 said, your example is incorrect. You can fix the error by changing the comma to a semicolon or by inserting a conjunction instead of the comma. – user421993 May 3 at 17:30
  • Oh sorry I didn't pay attention to that – Khaled Oqab May 4 at 5:19

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