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  1. #1
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    Default Putting tenses together

    Hello,

    I have got a problem in putting tenses together.

    We know that when there is 'Yesterday/Last Week/etc.' in the sentence, we shall take Simple Past:
    Ex1: Yesterday we went to a department store.

    We have also been told that, if an action happened in the past, but has an effect in the present, we use Present Perfect:
    Ex2: We have bought many things. (We still have them in our home.)

    These are the usual explanation for the two tenses. Then see what happens if we put them together:
    Ex3: "Yesterday we went to a store department. ?We have bought many things."
    It seems to me that Ex3 doesn't sound alright. Are there some other rules controlling the choice of tenses? Is there something we are missing?

    Your opinion is welcome.

    Shun

  2. #2
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    Dany is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Putting tenses together

    Hello Shun,

    if you use the both sentences with no refer to each other, then you are right.

    "We have bought many things" = In this sentence you use the present perfect, because you don't have a time when you have bought it. If you put your both sentences together, then it refers to yesterday.

    Yesterday we went to a store department. We bought many things.

    I hope that helps you

    Kind regards,
    Dany

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Putting tenses together

    Of course they refer to each other. However, don’t let me mislead you, but my explanation of Present Perfect is just very childish and means nothing. There are many other splendid usages and attractive theories of using Present Perfect.

    Strange, do you mean once I started the paragraph with Yesterday or Last Week, I can no longer use any other Present Perfect at all? It doesn’t make any sense.

    I agree to your example with Simple Past. Really, in this example, can I continue with another Present Perfect at all?

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Putting tenses together

    You can use other tenses in the same paragraph, but not if they refer to that time period:

    Yesterday I went to the museum. I rarely go to museums...
    Last edited by Tdol; 16-Nov-2004 at 09:26. Reason: typo

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Putting tenses together

    Thank you Tdol,

    This is what I had in mind. The time relations with other sentences control the tense. It is useless to analyze that a tense denotes this or that, with only one sentence. It is wasting time. Do you agree?

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Putting tenses together

    It's not wasting time if it illustrates a point for learners, but to restrict yourself to single sentences won't get you veryfar as very rarely do texts have a single sentence- they normally have a wider context.

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    Default Re: Putting tenses together

    You are very correct.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Putting tenses together

    I guess we may say Ex3, as the recommendation is not in Last Week:

    Ex3: "Last week we went to a store department. We bought many things. I have recommended to Ms B."

    But it seems uncertain to me for the following one:
    Ex4: "Last week we went to a store department. We bought many things. I have recommended to Ms B. But she said she knows about the store department."

    I don’t know if we shall use ‘said’, or ‘says’, or even ‘have said?

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Putting tenses together

    If you use 'have recommeded' (which should have 'it'), then I wouldn't use the past- I'd use 'says'.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Putting tenses together

    It follows that the following is correct. Is that right?

    Ex5: "Last week we went to a store department. We bought many things. I have recommended to Ms B. But she says she knows about the store department. I ask her why she hasn't told us earlier."

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