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    #1

    The use of the past tense and the present perfect

    Dear Sir,

    Can I say, " I have gone through the paper last night. Should you have any questions please let me know."?

    All the best.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The use of the past tense and the present perfect

    Hi albertino,
    A lot of people here are women, you know, so "Dear Sir" isn't the best greeting for us. :)

    When you refer to a specific time in the past, use the simple past, not the present perfect.

    I went through the paper last night.

    ex: I have been to Italy. I went to Italy ten years ago.

    [not a teacher]


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    #3

    Re: The use of the past tense and the present perfect

    Barb's advice is good as ENLs make determined efforts to avoid the use of the present perfect with clear past time collocations.

    There are, however, certain times when certain uses of the present perfect, most notably the present perfect of importance, where this is overridden. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. Michael Swan, in his book "Practical English Usage' describes this. His advice and it is good advice, is for ESLs to avoid this use.

    Here is an example from Tony Blair, the former PM of England.

    THE JAPAN TIMES TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2005
    Blair denies he made deal with Brown over job

    London (AP) Prime Minis*ter Tony Blair has denied a new claim that he agreed to quit before the end of his sec*ond term to make way for Chancellor of the Exchequer (Treasury chief) Gordon Brown, but then decided to stay on.

    "You don't do deals over jobs like this," Blair said Sunday.
    ...

    Blair on Sunday played down the significance of the claims made in the book, "Brown's Britain," by Robert Peston, a Sunday Telegraph journalist, who has known Brown and members of his in*ner circle for more than 10 years.

    "This is reheated from six or seven months ago," Blair told BBC TV's 'Breakfast With Frost' program. "I'm simply not going back over things that I've answered many, many times before."

    Asked whether he had as*sured Brown that he will step down, then changed his mind, Blair replied: "I've dealt with this six months ago. I said then you don't do deals over jobs like this. You don't."

    +++++++++++++++++++++

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    #4

    Re: The use of the past tense and the present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Barb's advice is good as ENLs make determined efforts to avoid the use of the present perfect with clear past time collocations.

    There are, however, certain times when certain uses of the present perfect, most notably the present perfect of importance, where this is overridden. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. Michael Swan, in his book "Practical English Usage' describes this. His advice and it is good advice, is for ESLs to avoid this use.

    Here is an example from Tony Blair, the former PM of England.

    THE JAPAN TIMES TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2005
    Blair denies he made deal with Brown over job

    London (AP) Prime Minis*ter Tony Blair has denied a new claim that he agreed to quit before the end of his sec*ond term to make way for Chancellor of the Exchequer (Treasury chief) Gordon Brown, but then decided to stay on.

    "You don't do deals over jobs like this," Blair said Sunday.
    ...

    Blair on Sunday played down the significance of the claims made in the book, "Brown's Britain," by Robert Peston, a Sunday Telegraph journalist, who has known Brown and members of his in*ner circle for more than 10 years.

    "This is reheated from six or seven months ago," Blair told BBC TV's 'Breakfast With Frost' program. "I'm simply not going back over things that I've answered many, many times before."

    Asked whether he had as*sured Brown that he will step down, then changed his mind, Blair replied: "I've dealt with this six months ago. I said then you don't do deals over jobs like this. You don't."

    +++++++++++++++++++++
    Thank you Barb and Riverkid.


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    #5

    Re: The use of the past tense and the present perfect

    I should mention that when ENLs use this combined present perfect with a past time adverb, as Tony Blair did, most times there is an intonational pause that serves to separate the PP and the past time adverb.

    In press reports this wouldn't be shown and it would be interesting to see a video of the interview. My guess is it would be something like this;

    "I've dealt with this ... six months ago.

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