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  1. #1
    batmura is offline Junior Member
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    Default No time expression = perfect tense?

    Grammatically speaking, are we supposed to form each sentence without a certain time expression in present perfect tense?

    Example:

    1) Surprise! I have bought two tickets to the theatre so that we can go together.

    If that is the only correct way of putting it then why is the following sentence incorrect?

    2) Surprise! I bought two tickets to the theatre so that we can/could go there.

    Is that ddue to the "surprise!" word indicating immediate past? Also, if the second sentence is correct, should the clause after the "so that" part be in present or past. I'm thinking "could" would be better.

    Any thoughts?

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    Default Re: No time expression = perfect tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by batmura
    Grammatically speaking, are we supposed to form each sentence without a certain time expression in present perfect tense?
    No, but the opposite is true: if a clause includes a definite time expression, we cannot use the present perfect.

    The present perfect really talks about the present, not the past. It is relatively unimportant when the action happened, the important thing is that the action has some effect on the present:

    "I have bought some tickets" ... and so we can go to the theatre.

    But I can use the past simple without a time expression:

    "I bought some tickets" is a simple statement about the past. Whether I still have the tickets or not is not important.

  3. #3
    batmura is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: No time expression = perfect tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    "I bought some tickets" is a simple statement about the past. Whether I still have the tickets or not is not important.
    In this case, saying:

    "I bought two tickets so that we could go to the theatre" is correct?

    What about the "surprise!" part at the beginning of the sentence though? Does the mean there's no way this sentence can be past?

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    Default Re: No time expression = perfect tense?

    Hi, batmura,
    Sure, this exclamation shows you must use the Pr.Perfect, because the information that follows is both new and important.

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    Default Re: No time expression = perfect tense?

    Well, it's a good indicator, but don't rely on it.

    "I wanted to buy some tickets, but they'd sold the last two yesterday."
    "Surprise! That was me!"

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    Default Re: No time expression = perfect tense?

    Sorry for being picky, rewboss, why they'd sold? It was yesterday, so they sold.
    We could surely say even
    Surprise! You're going to Paris with us!
    But if it's abt smth that has recently happened it's the Pr.Perfect.

  7. #7
    batmura is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: No time expression = perfect tense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble
    Sorry for being picky, rewboss, why they'd sold
    Actually it should read they'd sold, since the tickets were sold before I went there to buy them. There are two actions, one of which happened earlier. Therefore, the usage of past perfect is correct.

    I still need to know why the following sentence is incorrect:

    "I bought two tickets [no time expression] so that we can/could go to the theatre."

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    Default Re: No time expression = perfect tense?

    Sorry, I still think the Past Perfect doesn't work with yesterday .
    Have a good Sunday!

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    Default Re: No time expression = perfect tense?

    The past perfect can be used with expressions of time. It indicates a state of affairs that was current at a time in the past, but is not necessarily current now. Although in that sentence, the past simple is probably more elegant, it is true.

    "I bought two tickets, so we can go to the theatre." That sentence is perfectly fine. There is, however, a slight change of emphasis from the current state of affairs to the past action itself. For example:

    "I hear you bought the last ticket. I'm really sad about that: I wanted to go so much."
    "Actually, I bought the last two tickets, so I can take you with me."

    Here, the emphasis is on the fact that it was two tickets I bought, not just one.

    Sometimes, the choice of tense is more style than anything else:

    "I bought two tickets, so we can go to the theatre."
    "I've bought two tickets, so we can go to the theatre."

    Here, the meaning is almost exactly the same, to the extent that it hardly matters which tense you choose. In cases like this, Americans tend to use the past simple, while British speakers usually prefer the present perfect.

    As I said before: You can use either tense without a definite time expression. But if the clause includes (or implies) a definite time in the past, you cannot use the present perfect.

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    Default Re: No time expression = perfect tense?

    perfect tenses DEFINITELY do not work with time expressions....

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