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Thread: Present Perfect

  1. #1
    Pawel_26 Guest

    Default Present Perfect

    Hi,

    The Present Perfect tense is used when the result of an past action is seen (is important) at the present. This can be found in all textbooks. So, let's consider the following situation: a teacher asked a question to students and one of them didn't hear it. Some time later the teacher asks the student to answer the question.
    And now here's my question: Should the student say: "I''m sorry, I didn't hear the question." or maybe "I'm sorry, I haven't heard the question" (the fact that he didn't hear the question has a great importance now, the result is that he can't answer it now).

    I'm sorry if my question is unclear.
    Thanks a lot for your help.

    Pawel
    Last edited by Pawel_26; 19-Jan-2005 at 16:05.

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Present Perfect

    Both would be literally true. However, the second one ("I haven't heard the quesion") might suggest that the question hasn't been stated yet. (The first would be more natural.)



  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Present Perfect

    I'd use the past. I'd use the present perfect for a question that hasn't been asked yet.

  4. #4
    Pawel_26 Guest

    Default Re: Present Perfect

    Thanks RonBee and tdol,

    You're absolutely right, but what would you say about the idea - the student may consider the question not asked because he hasn't heard it yet. In this case would it be possible to use the Present Perfect?

    A quote from a website: "The present perfect simple tense is used to talk about a past time, which has very strong meaning for the present." I guess the fact that the student didn't hear the question has strong meaning now because he can't answer the question correctly.

    Thanks a lot again
    Last edited by Pawel_26; 20-Jan-2005 at 16:57.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Present Perfect

    I understand what you are saying, but under the circumstances described I cannot imagine anyone saying, "I haven't heard the question." Instead, an apologetic "I didn't hear the question" makes much more sense.


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    Default Re: Present Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Pawel_26
    Thanks RonBee and tdol,

    You're absolutely right, but what would you say about the idea - the student may consider the question not asked because he hasn't heard it yet. In this case would it be possible to use the Present Perfect?

    A quote from a website: "The present perfect simple tense is used to talk about a past time, which has very strong meaning for the present." I guess the fact that the student didn't hear the question has strong meaning now because he can't answer the question correctly.

    Thanks a lot again
    In addition, with the present perfect, "before" is implied but often omitted. When the student replies, "I haven't heard the question", s/he means, "I haven't heard the question before: this is the first time in my life that I've heard it." You see, "haven't heard" implies that the student heard the question at the time it was asked, but that s/he never heard it before that time.

  7. #7
    Pawel_26 Guest

    Default Re: Present Perfect

    Thanks a lot.

    I must say it again: you're very helpful .

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