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  1. #1
    wills233 is offline Newbie
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    present perfect tense vs. past tense

    Tacher, please help me how to use properly the present perfect tense in speaking english? I sometimes confuse of which is better to use in normal speaking or talking, Is it the present perfect tense or the simple past tense? "Ex. We just want to ask about the address you have given us. OR We just want to ask about the address you gave us." Are these sentences imply the same thought?

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: present perfect tense vs. past tense

    In BrE:

    Both present perfect and past simple tenses are normally used of a situation that began in the past.

    If the situation ended in the past and has no real relevance at the moment of speaking, we use a past tense (simple, continuous or perfect as appropriate).

    I saw Henry last Tuesday
    I lived in Portsmouth until I was ten.

    If the situation continues up to the present time and/or is seen as relevant to the present time, we use a perfect tense, simple or continuous, as appropriate.

    I have lived in Prague since 1998. ( I still live there).
    I have lived in Germany. (I lived there in the past, but 'living in Germany' is part of my whole-life experience.

    With a past tense, we normally mention or imply the past time; with a perfect tense we do not (except with words such as since.)

    In your examples, both tenses are possible.

    We just want to ask us about the address you gave us. (You gave us the address at some past time.)

    We just want to ask about the address you have given us. (a. You gave us the address such a short time ago that the 'past' is virtually the same as the 'present', or, b. The address is on the piece of paper in my hand now. the giving of the address was in the past, but my interest now is in the present-ness of the address.

    In this particular situation, we would probably use either the past simple or, with meaning (a), the present perfect.

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