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  1. #11
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm afraid, you'll ignore me like you did/have for the past three months

    I've been told over and over again that Americans use the simple past when the rest of the civilized world uses present perfect. I've found only a few examples of when this is true.

    One of those examples is after "just." That is, "Eww! I just stepped in some gum" sounds fine to us though none of us would object to present perfect. I believe our British, Indian, Australian and other English-speaking friends would accept only the present perfect.

    If the speaker is talking about an action that started three months ago (being ignored) and continues to the present, I would use only the present perfect. Yes, even as an American. However, I'd be interested to hear Tdol's opinion on this, since he says "did" might work too and I'm sure he'll make me smarter with his answer.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 07-Apr-2014 at 14:48.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. #12
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: I'm afraid, you'll ignore me like you did/have for the past three months

    Unfortunately, I have to say that with your example the past sounds OK to me.

    I think it might be better to say think in terms of preferences rather than only accepting one form, so the differences are more of frequency- one variant may use the present perfect more than another with a certain adverb. Some grammar books will say that in BrE we use the present perfect with recently. We do, but we also use the past. However, in the negative, we almost exclusively use the present perfect. In BrE, already with the past is not at all common and many sentences that might sounds OK elsewhere will sound odd.

    In the case of the last three months, the present perfect is the natural choice as the time continues to now. But the past simple does not sound like an error to me- the person could be thinking of being ignored on three specific occasions in that period of time, for instance. If the emphasis is on those occasions more than the time, then a speaker might choose the past. However, other BrE speakers may disagree- we'll see what they say.

  3. #13
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm afraid, you'll ignore me like you did/have for the past three months

    I always like to hear from native speakers of other dialects because I find some of my assumptions/beliefs validated and some of them to be erroneous. I'm never upset to find I'm in error - it just helps me learn!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #14
    Batman45 is online now Member
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    Default Re: I'm afraid, you'll ignore me like you did/have for the past three months

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Unfortunately, I have to say that with your example the past sounds OK to me.

    I think it might be better to say think in terms of preferences rather than only accepting one form, so the differences are more of frequency- one variant may use the present perfect more than another with a certain adverb. Some grammar books will say that in BrE we use the present perfect with recently. We do, but we also use the past. However, in the negative, we almost exclusively use the present perfect. In BrE, already with the past is not at all common and many sentences that might sounds OK elsewhere will sound odd.

    In the case of the last three months, the present perfect is the natural choice as the time continues to now. But the past simple does not sound like an error to me- the person could be thinking of being ignored on three specific occasions in that period of time, for instance. If the emphasis is on those occasions more than the time, then a speaker might choose the past. However, other BrE speakers may disagree- we'll see what they say.
    What about - I'm afraid you would ignore me like you did for the last three months.

    Would in place of might and will - Is this okay?

  5. #15
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    Default Re: I'm afraid, you'll ignore me like you did/have for the past three months

    Quote Originally Posted by Batman45 View Post
    What about - I'm afraid you would ignore me like you did for the last three months.

    Would in place of might and will - Is this okay?
    Not for me it isn't. Not with "I am".

  6. #16
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    Default Re: I'm afraid, you'll ignore me like you did/have for the past three months

    "I'm afraid I, you, he etc. would ..." is heard in these parts. But I'd be or I would be is more common.

  7. #17
    Batman45 is online now Member
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    Default Re: I'm afraid, you'll ignore me like you did/have for the past three months

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    "I'm afraid I, you, he etc. would ..." is heard in these parts. But I'd be or I would be is more common.
    Something like this: I'd be afraid you would ignore me like you did for the last three months.

  8. #18
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: I'm afraid, you'll ignore me like you did/have for the past three months

    That works, but it's a bit heavy.
    Last edited by Tdol; 08-Apr-2014 at 04:08.

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