Great, Tom! You survived this jump!

Why do we use past simple and not the present perfect there? We can see the result of surviving in the present, but still use past tense.

  • What is the context for the opening line? Is "this jump" over? Feb 19 at 14:38
  • The down vote seems harsh, have an uptick, too.
    – Phil Sweet
    Feb 19 at 16:19
  • You need to go here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/544609/… and then follow the link to english.stackexchange.com/questions/21846/… Feb 19 at 16:59
  • "You've survived the jump!" would be OK as well (at least, to my British ears). Feb 19 at 17:49
  • In writing, have survived works. Though perhaps the context is more appropriate for speech, and in speech, you can't tell the difference between you've survived and you survived at ordinary production rates (perhaps even faster in this context). As I have mentioned several hundred times before here, English spelling doesn't represent English speech, and neither does English word spacing. Auxiliaries are contracted whenever possible, and usually deleted when next to consonants. Feb 19 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


Though the intransitive sense of survive is durative:

survive [verb] [A intransitive]

1: to remain alive or in existence: live on ...

  • There are bacteria that survive even in extreme temperatures.

The transitive sense used here is punctive (related to a point or what can be considered a point in time; in OP's example, arguably the [obviously safe] landing):

survive [verb] [B transitive] ...

2: to continue to exist or live after

  • He survived the earthquake. ...

[Merriam-Webster; reformatted and adjusted slightly] [note especially that the labels (1) and (2) are in different sequences in the original]

With a typically one-off (semelfactive) event (which doesn't need to be confined to a moment in time), it is usual to use past simple when not tying the event to the present:

  • He died.
  • They lived in China between the wars.
  • She won Wimbledon in 1906.

However, the present perfect is used to show recency, or to make a general statement still carrying force:

  • They have lived in China until quite recently.
  • She has even won a major tennis tournament.

While ' ... You've survived the jump!' is certainly plausible for a recent attainment, past simple is crisper (and sounds slightly more sincere ... although the example itself sounds somewhat sardonic).


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