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Thread: Present perfect

  1. #1
    Hanka is offline Senior Member
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    Present perfect

    Hello,

    I know that I have lots of questions concerning the present perfect, but I just try to understand it and it is not easy at all. How can I for example recognize in a sentence, whether we concentrate on the present result or not?

    Example:
    I co-founded (have co-founded?) a company literally out of nothing in a period when modern technical equipment was not a matter of course.

    Do we concentrate on the fact that the company exists now or on the time when it was founded?

    Thank you so much.

    Hanka

  2. #2
    DavyBCN's Avatar
    DavyBCN is offline Member
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    Re: Present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanka
    Hello,
    I know that I have lots of questions concerning the present perfect, but I just try to understand it and it is not easy at all. How can I for example recognize in a sentence, whether we concentrate on the present result or not?
    Example:
    I co-founded (have co-founded?) a company literally out of nothing in a period when modern technical equipment was not a matter of course.
    Do we concentrate on the fact that the company exists now or on the time when it was founded?
    Thank you so much.
    Hanka
    If you look at other threads you will see some debate on the use of the present perfect, so expect some of the great people here to disagree with me. - especially as you have picked an example where, in my view, both tenses can be understood to mean exactly the same thing!

    "I co-founded" in your example sentence says to me that you did this at some time in the past. The company may still exist today, but what you are concentrating on is a single finished action in the past. You co-founded it, you managed it, you sold it........

    "I have co-founded" in your example could also refer to a single finished action, but could also be referring to something which started in the past but which has a connection to the present.

    A lot depends on what time or other expressions you use:-

    I co-founded.......in 2001/when I was younger.
    I have co-founded.........since 2001.

  3. #3
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    Re: Present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanka
    in a period when...
    That phrase refers to a definite time in the past. You therefore cannot use the present perfect. The focus of the sentence is on the conditions you faced when you co-founded the company.

    Compare that with this:

    A: So, how's business?
    B: Well, I've co-founded a printing firm.

    Now the focus is on the present -- what are you doing now? Answer: You are helping to run a new printing firm which you co-founded.

    The present perfect is especially appropriate when the company is still quite new.

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