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  1. #1
    batmura is offline Junior Member
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    Default Using the Present Perfect Tense with Time Clauses

    Can anyone tell me the difference between the following sentences please?

    (1) Please report to the office after you finish your work.

    (2) Please report to the office after you have finished your work.

    My guess is that in the second sentence there is more emphasis on the completion of the work whereas the first one just signifies the time. I could be totally wrong, but is there a difference between the use of simple present tense and present perfect tense with time clauses.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Using the Present Perfect Tense with Time Clauses

    There may be more emphasis on the completion of the work in the second sentence, but there is not a great deal of difference in meaning here.

  3. #3
    batmura is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Using the Present Perfect Tense with Time Clauses

    So on what criterion does a native speaker use the present perfect tense after a time clause? When does one say:

    (1) Brush your teeth after you have dinner.

    (2) Brush your teeth after you have had dinner.

    Is the second sentence more formal and better suited to imperatives?

    Can we also use present perfect tense in a sentence like this:

    (3) He will call me after he has typed the report.

    Is there absolutely no difference between this one and:

    (4) He will call me after he types the report.

  4. #4
    batmura is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Using the Present Perfect Tense with Time Clauses

    Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Using the Present Perfect Tense with Time Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by batmura View Post
    So on what criterion does a native speaker use the present perfect tense after a time clause?
    You answered your own question in your first post. I confirmed it in mine.

    When does one say:

    (1) Brush your teeth after you have dinner.
    (2) Brush your teeth after you have had dinner.
    Once again, this has been answered.
    Is the second sentence more formal and better suited to imperatives? No

    Can we also use present perfect tense in a sentence like this: (3) He will call me after he has typed the report. Yes

    Is there absolutely no difference between this one and: (4) He will call me after he types the report.
    I wouldn't say there was absolutely no difference. See post #1 and #2

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Using the Present Perfect Tense with Time Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by batmura View Post
    So on what criterion does a native speaker use the present perfect tense after a time clause? When does one say:
    The native speaker would not bother deciding when there was no difference in meaning.
    "See me when you mow my lawn" - When you come to my place to mow my lawn, see me.
    "See me when you've mowed my lawn." - After you've mowed my lawn, see me (wherever I am), and I'll pay you.

    "Tell me when you do it" - not good.
    "Tell me when you've done it" - makes sense.

  7. #7
    batmura is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Using the Present Perfect Tense with Time Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "Tell me when you do it" - not good.
    Why not? Would most native speakers use the present perfect tense here?

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    Default Re: Using the Present Perfect Tense with Time Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by batmura View Post
    Why not? Would most native speakers use the present perfect tense here?
    They would use what is most communicative (ideally).
    As in the first example I gave, if they want to be told only after it is done, they will probably make that clear.

    A person might say "Tell me when you do it" if they don't mind being interrupted just to be told that the person is now doing it - irrespective of whether it's ever completed or not.

    Boss: Tell me when you build the Olympic stadium.
    Contractor: We are building it now.
    Boss: I know that. I want to know when it's finished. Tell me when it's built.

    In this dialog, the Boss should have said, "Tell me when you've built the Olympic stadium". (If he had used the verb "finish", there would not have been that problem, but for the purposes here, he didn't, he used "build".)

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