40

The Present Perfect Construction in English has the following uses (cf. McCawley 1971): (a) The Universal sense of the Perfect, used to indicate that a state of affairs prevailed throughout some interval stretching from the past into the present • I've known Max since 1960. (b) The Existential sense of the Perfect, used to indicate the existence of past ...


35

1 means that the action happened just now. You would typically see it in your e-mail program just after you send an e-mail. Your program might give you this message to let you know that the message you just sent has indeed been sent. 2 refers to something that happened at some time in the past. It could have been an hour ago, a day ago, or even a century ...


19

Think of the past tense as referring to an event that took place at a particular time in the past. In saying The message was sent, the speaker will normally have in mind something like yesterday or last week. The present perfect is called 'present' for a reason. The speaker is talking about the situation now, a situation in which a past event has some ...


16

My guess is that you read a table something like this: Present Simple (I eat) habitually; in general. as a command Present Continuous (I am eating at this point at this point, continuously at a point in the future. Past Simple (I ate) at a point in the past. Past Continuous (I was eating) at a point in the past continuously etc... and found it ...


16

... you can't present perfect (or continuous) and past simple within a sentence. As it stands, this rule is incorrect. In many cases it is acceptable and logical to mix past and present references in consecutive clauses I lost my keys last week, but now I have found them. This makes sense: A was true then, but B is true now. This, however, ...


14

This is a specific usage, in its original context and native habitat, of what is technically called the Hot News sense of the English Perfect construction. There are four senses in all (cf. McCawley 1971): (a) The Universal sense of the Perfect, used to indicate that a state of affairs prevailed throughout some interval stretching from the past into the ...


12

One strange property of the perfect tense is that it refers to two times: the time in the past when the action was performed, and the time indicated by the auxiliary verb (to have). Depending upon usage, a sentence using the perfect tense can be more about the present (or the time of the auxiliary verb) than it is about the past: A: Are you hungry? B: I ...


11

Whether or not an action is repeated has no bearing on the choice between the past tense and the present perfect construction. The first describes actions at a particular time in the past and the second relates past actions to the time of speaking. You wouldn’t say I have seen that movie twelve times on Tuesday because Tuesday is a particular time in the ...


10

Your past perfect tense starts in the infinite past for any action, but it doesn't have to happen so. I include an illustration for the verb see in the past perfect from the following text, written around 2010, which is about a movie that was shelved in 1981, kept for two decades, but finally released around 2002. So, instead of two reference points on the ...


10

When using the present perfect "has/have gone", the implication is that he has not returned and is still in Europe. With simple past tense, there is no such indication: he may still be in Europe or he might have returned. Incidentally, you would normally use "Mirek went to Europe on business." when the time of the action is understood between both speakers, ...


10

The rule you quote is simplistic. It is quite permissible to mix all sorts of tenses within one sentence. The issue is whether the time relationships that they convey make sense. Take a simpler case: present and future. Would a blanket rule that you should never mix present and future in a sentence be valid? No. "Bob owns the house and so he will paint it ...


9

when you say “I wrote my article yesterday,” does this imply that at this moment you have a finished article or not? Yes, you finished it. Otherwise, as you say, you would say something like "I started to write my article yesterday". In that case, 'started to write' has finished even if the article hasn't. What about present perfect? Does it imply ...


9

Speaking as a non-linguist with no education in the theory, but a native speaker with a lifetime of exposure to practice, my ear would expect you to say "The most important news is that my parents opened a new restaurant a few weeks ago." If you said "have opened a restaurant a few weeks ago", it would sound really off. Additionally, "opened" implies "new"...


8

You didn't use the gift I gave you. could imply that you thought the other party was supposed to use the gift at a specific point of time (or when a certain event occurred), and they have lost the opportunity. You haven't used the gift I gave you. implies that so far the other party has not used the gift, but there's a chance they still will.


7

The four different senses of the English Perfect construction, from McCawley, James D. 1971. “Tense and Time Reference in English,” in C. J. Fillmore and D. T. Langendoen (eds), Studies in Linguistic Semantics. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Universal Perfect: Since 2000, Alexandra has lived in L.A. Describes an ongoing continuous situation still true or ...


6

Instead of thinking about specific time, it may be more helpful to distinguish between finished time (past simple) and unfinished time (present perfect). If the season is still in progress, then it needs to be: How many points have you scored this season? (unfinished season) If the season has just ended, you would normally ask: How many points did you ...


6

John Lawler and others have pretty well nailed it, but I'd just like to add a couple of things. Maybe if we try and think why it is the present perfect, and the past simple. The past is finished and done with. It doesn't matter how many times you did something or how long you did it for, if you mention a past time reference, or if the fact that something is ...


6

OK, in questions 19 and 20 the time expressions are different. Present Perfect is the "best" solution for 19, but Simple Past could also be used. 19) I have drunk three cups of coffee today. For question 20 the Simple Past is the only appropriate form given the choice between Present Perfect and Simple Past. 20) I drank three cups of coffee ...


5

You may find Wikipedia's section on the present perfect tense useful. The article mentions several cases where present perfect is appropriate, the most relevant being: When a repeated or prolonged action is specified, the present perfect indicates that the time period in question goes up to the present. ... Because Tuesday is over and done, your ...


5

The usage of the Present Perfect is perfectly good here. Had it been the alternative Past Simple that some people might prefer: "I missed... I lost... I was trusted and missed... I failed..." Then all the past experiences being mentioned would be totally detached from where MJ was at the time of speaking. In short, all his past experiences would hold ...


5

The simple past tense (when referring to the past) means the action takes place in the past, and that this necessarily excludes the present. It is over before the moment of speaking. "I read your question 2 minutes ago." With the simple past, I am not connecting the past event of my reading to the moment of me writing that sentence. The present perfect ...


4

I don't think "didn't start yet" is really valid English in most contexts. I can't exactly say what it is about the construction that I don't like, but I decided to check written usage by others. In Google Books I find just 14 hits for "doesn't start yet" and 91 for "didn't start yet", compared to tens of thousands for "haven't started yet", and for "hadn't ...


4

Both versions of (b) are valid, but one difference is "When did you see it?" is far more common... Only my opinion, but on average I feel that "when have you seen it?" is more likely to be accusatory or incredulous. There's often a sense of "I don't believe you! Prove it by telling me exactly when!".


4

American English tends to use the past tense in places where British English uses the present perfect construction, and this may be one such place. But in any case, the lyrics of popular music are not always written in Standard English and will consequently conform to a different set of grammatical rules.


4

Neither. This is a case (one of many) in which the two forms are equivalent in meaning. This is aided by the fact that in English the two sentences are pronounced identically, since the /vdʒ/ cluster in /ayvdʒəstə'rayvd/ I've just arrived is very difficult to pronounce, and is normally shortened to just /dʒ/, which makes it indistinguishable from I just ...


4

Present perfect is used to say that the past event has current consequences or happened recently. So it's telling us that this is a recent occurrence (in this case, that would seem to be the meaning), or that it might be of current importance (for example, that you might want to attend his funeral).


4

"I already asked her" is in simple past tense, indicating that the event occurred in the past. "I have already asked her" is in present perfect tense and is used in situations where a past event has relevance to the current situation. These get used interchangeably, but if you want to be exactly correct, it depends on the context of your sentence. For ...


4

The perfect tense, used in the second sentence, indicates something done in the past, which has a continuing effect on the present. To ask the first could mean nothing, as their hands could have been washed yesterday, or maybe even today and are now dirty. The second, however, is much more effective in interrogation.


4

The simple past is used to relate or narrate past eventualities. It makes no reference to the present. The present perfect, however, is not used to relate past events or states: it is a present tense and expresses a present state which in some respect arises out of the past eventuality. That present state is not explicitly named, but is left to the hearer/...


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