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Thread: recent

  1. #1
    peter123 is offline Senior Member
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    recent

    Hi there,

    Peter has stopped smoking recently/ in recent days.

    Is it a must to use 'present perfect' with 'recently'???
    Is 'in recent days' correct here?

    pete

  2. #2
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: recent

    Quote Originally Posted by peter123 View Post
    Hi there,

    Peter has stopped smoking recently/ in recent days. "stopped smoking" is fine but 'quit smoking' is more commonly used.

    Is it a must to use 'present perfect' with 'recently'??? No. In fact I would not use present perfect with "recently". Just say, 'She stopped smoking recently.' But without a time word like "recently", you can say 'She has stopped smoking.' (or just, 'She stopped smoking.')


    Is 'in recent days' correct here? I wouldn't say that; it sounds very unnatural. If you want to mention "days", say 'She stopped smoking in the past few days'.

    pete
    2006
    Last edited by 2006; 28-Nov-2007 at 06:36.

  3. #3
    peter123 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: recent

    Hi there,

    But how about 'Where have you been recently?'

    Does British English use 'perfect' with 'recently'??

    pete

  4. #4
    peter123 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: recent

    Hi there,
    But how about 'Where have you been recently/lately?'

    Does British English use 'perfect tense' to go with 'recently' or 'lately'???
    thanks
    pete

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    Re: recent

    Pete,

    This matter is, for non-natives, one of the toughest cookies to crack.

    I will try to explain the underlying basic rule.

    In general, you will use the PRESENT Perfect if there is a 'link to the present', and/or when a situation has been 'completed, perfected, finished'.
    (a situation that started in the past, even a very long time ago, but still going on today).

    In general, you will use the simple PAST if it is a definite past time.
    (a situation that is 1) completely over, without a link to the present, and 2) it occurred on a specific, defined moment in the past.

    Examples...
    She has stopped smoking. (implied: she's still not smoking today)
    She stopped smoking last week. (definite past moment, but unclear whether the situation is still the same today).

    He recently stopped smoking. (Recently: sounds vague, but actually it is rather a defined moment in the past).

    Compare:
    Where did you go? (when I was looking for you, yesterday, or two minutes ago, or 'back then' : situation is over)
    Where have you been? (up to now: link to the present).

    The problem with English is: there is no normative grammar that prescribes everything...

    Good luck with it!

    Thomas

  6. #6
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: recent

    Quote Originally Posted by peter123 View Post
    Hi there,
    But how about 'Where have you been recently/lately?'

    Does British English use 'perfect tense' to go with 'recently' or 'lately'???
    thanks
    pete
    Actually, even North American speakers would/might use perfect tense and "recently" in this sentence. But, as already mentioned, in your earlier "stopped smoking" sentence I would not use perfect tense with "recently". The sentences are different in that the "stopped smoking" sentence talks about a single
    'sudden' specific act whereas the timeline and the activity is more drawn out in "have been" sentence.
    (a few comments on Thomas's post later)

  7. #7
    peter123 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: recent

    Hi there,
    How about the following sentence?

    Recently, a charity group has approached our school principal. It is looking for volunteers to join its various project this summer.

    'Recently' means past time. Why did the writer use 'present perfect tense'?

    peter

  8. #8
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: recent

    Quote Originally Posted by peter123 View Post
    Hi there,
    How about the following sentence?

    Recently, a charity group has approached our school principal. It is looking for volunteers to join its various projects this summer.

    'Recently' means past time. Why did the writer use 'present perfect tense'?

    peter
    In my opinion "has" is a useless word in that sentence, and therefore there is no good reason to use the perfect tense.

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