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Thread: present or past

  1. #1
    ckcgordon is offline Junior Member
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    Default present or past

    Should I use present or past tense in the following situation:

    - He has always been there when I needed him.
    - He has always been there when I need him.

    I can see that the both sentences are used by English native speakers. When I used the Internet to check their usage rate, I found that more people prefer the past tense version, i.e. "He has always been there when I needed him.". Can someone tell me why past tense should be used? Thanks!

  2. #2
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: present or past

    Quote Originally Posted by ckcgordon View Post
    Should I use present or past tense in the following situation:

    - He has always been there when I needed him.
    - He has always been there when I need him.

    I can see that the both sentences are used by English native speakers. When I used the Internet to check their usage rate, I found that more people prefer the past tense version, i.e. "He has always been there when I needed him.". Can someone tell me why past tense should be used? Thanks!
    The first one isn't really past tense. It can be read as,

    He has always been there when I have needed him.

    For all the times that I have needed him, he has been there.

  3. #3
    ckcgordon is offline Junior Member
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    Thumbs up Re: present or past

    Thanks for your explanation.
    But could you tell me why "have" is omitted?

  4. #4
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: present or past

    If you say any of the following:

    He has always been there when I have needed him.
    He has always been there when I needed him.
    He was always there when I needed him.
    He is always there when I need him.

    native English speakers will interpret them to have identical meanings. (If the person refered to is now gone, the last sentence won't do.)

  5. #5
    ckcgordon is offline Junior Member
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    Talking Re: present or past

    Thanks for your examples.
    I never thought that I can have so many ways to express the same meaning.

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