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    #1

    simple past/present perfect

    Dear native speakers,
    Would you please tell me what difference you will understand when either simple past or present perfect is used like the following sentences?

    1) I have left my wallet in the car. I'm going to get it.
    2) I left my wallet in the car. I'm going to get it.

    Thanks.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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      • Retired English Teacher
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    #2

    Re: simple past/present perfect

    There is no real difference in meaning in that particular sentence. A speaker of BrE is more likely to use the present perfect.

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    #3

    Re: simple past/present perfect

    Thanks for the reply, but is the difference only in being BrE or AmE?
    Could the difference be in the time reference? For instance, when present perfect is used, there is a close relationship between the present and the past. But when simple past is used, there is a time lapse between the past and present. Am I right?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
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    #4

    Re: simple past/present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by haseli22 View Post
    Thanks for the reply, but is the difference only in being BrE or AmE?
    Could the difference be in the time reference? For instance, when present perfect is used, there is a close relationship between the present and the past. But when simple past is used, there is a time lapse between the past and present. Am I right?
    To an extent. It depends on the context. If a British speaker discovered the slip a few seconds after locking the car, s/he would almost certainly use the present perfect. If s/he discovered it an hour later, s/he might use either. It depends on whether s/he is concerned about not having the wallet or remembering that s/he did not bring it at the time of getting out of the car.

    It all depends on the way the speaker's mind is working. There are no fixed rules for such situations.

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