Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 27
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 1,517
    #1

    should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    From an ESL book:

    "You know I'm on a tight budget and I spent more than I should have."

    I think it should read "You know I'm on a tight budget and I have spent more than I should have." - that is present perfect instead of simple past. What do you think? If the book expression is correct, please explain the reason.


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
    • Posts: 422
    #2

    Re: should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    From an ESL book:

    "You know I'm on a tight budget and I spent more than I should have."

    I think it should read "You know I'm on a tight budget and I have spent more than I should have." - that is present perfect instead of simple past. What do you think? If the book expression is correct, please explain the reason.
    The book is correct, Ymnisky. It's really a shame that this has to be explained over and over again.

    If a BrE speaker gave you a response, they'd likely tell you that you're right, 'have' is needed. But even in BrE, this aspect of the Present Perfect [PP]is changing.

    The PP does at least four jobs in English and all have a central theme running thru them, ie. they contain a feeling of "up to now".

    1. Experience - Have you ever skied/been to Brazil/eaten octopus?

    Even this one, which discusses one's whole existence 'ever', and clearly means contains within "up to now", is changing. Sometimes we use, simple past, 'did,

    "Did you ever try skiing/eat octopus/go to Brazil?"

    2. Continuation - How long have you lived in Brazil?

    This one is pretty straight forward and I believe, it's the least likely to change to the simple past because of the differences in meaning.

    I know that I haven't yet answered your question but I'm going to leave this for now - I'm busy as hell/all get out/heck - but I will get back to you and I promise I'll straighten out your difficulties for you, ymnisky.


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #3

    Re: should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    From an ESL book:

    "You know I'm on a tight budget and I spent more than I should have."

    I think it should read "You know I'm on a tight budget and I have spent more than I should have." - that is present perfect instead of simple past. What do you think? If the book expression is correct, please explain the reason.
    Both are correct.

    Let me know if you have a follow-up question.


  1. anupumh's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Hindi
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • India

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 1,110
    #4

    Re: should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    Both are correct.

    Let me know if you have a follow-up question.

    Now the question is, if both are correct, what should one use, is it a matter of personal choice? and what should we base our personal choice on?


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #5

    Re: should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    Quote Originally Posted by anupumh View Post
    Now the question is, if both are correct, what should one use, is it a matter of personal choice? and what should we base our personal choice on?
    Well, there is the question of why both are correct. That aside, I'll reply to your question.

    It could be a matter of personal choice or style. Also, one could think that where both present perfect and simple past are correct, one is more likely to choose the present perfect in BrE style.

    Also, let's look at the speaker's viewpoint where both the simple past and the present perfect are correct.

    simple past: - The action or event is viewed as finished and not relevant now.

    present perfect: The action or event is finished and still relevant now. Also the action or event may very well continue, if not "now" then later.

    The present perfect highlights "up-to-nowness", while the simple past highlights that which is complete and that which we have clearly left behind us.

    Here's an easy example I give sometimes when explaining how both simple past and present perfect can both be correct.

    Did everyone get a sheet of paper? - The person finished passing out the sheets of paper - finished.

    Has everyone gotten a sheet of paper? - The person sees the action of handing out paper as something "up until now", whereas the person who uses the simple past sees the action as finished and something to start again if someone does not have a piece of paper "now".

    Of course, many other times only one or the other is correct.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 1,517
    #6

    Re: should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    "You know I'm on a tight budget and I spent more than I should have."

    I think it should read "You know I'm on a tight budget and I have spent more than I should have."
    The main reason I asked this question here was not regarding simple past x present perfect usage. Rather, that main reason was the following:

    I think in the original sentence it is implied: "I spent more than I should have spent."
    As a matter of coherence and consistency I think the same tense should be used. So my opinion up to now (I will keep reading your posts) is that the sentence should read:
    "I spent more than I should (spend)." (both simple past)
    or
    "I have spent more than I should have (spent)." (both present perfect)


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #7

    Re: should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    The main reason I asked this question here was not regarding simple past x present perfect usage. Rather, that main reason was the following:

    I think in the original sentence it is implied: "I spent more than I should have spent."
    As a matter of coherence and consistency I think the same tense should be used. So my opinion up to now (I will keep reading your posts) is that the sentence should read:
    "I spent more than I should (spend)." (both simple past)
    or
    "I have spent more than I should have (spent)." (both present perfect)
    No, you don't have to maintain parallel structure with "have spent" and "should have spent". It's not necessary. Logical meaning is still derived from using the simple past along with "should have". And "should do', of course, does not mean that same thing as "should have done", so just choose your forms according to what you mean to say.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 1,517
    #8

    Re: should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    Lately Mary has spent more money than saved. (Here I think it is implied "than she has saved")
    Yesterday, Mary spent more money than saved.
    Mary spent more money than has saved. (This is not good - I can't think in a good one)


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #9

    Re: should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Lately Mary has spent more money than saved. (Here I think it is implied "than she has saved")
    Yesterday, Mary spent more money than saved.
    Mary spent more money than has saved. (This is not good - I can't think in a good one)
    I would say, "Mary has spent more money than she has saved".

    "Mary has spent more money than she saved." - This is also possible

    "Mary spent more money than she saved."

    simple past - She saved just enough money for her vacation, and then started using her credit card. The action of "saving" is complete.

    present perfect - She has saved money for a long time now, and now this money is gone. She has spent it all. She'll save more money after her vacation.

    This is a very fine difference. In any event, both simple past and present perfect are correct in some cases, and this is one of them. Though more context could make it so that one or the other is correct. Isolated sentences are not alway easy to learn from.


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
    • Posts: 422
    #10

    Re: should have (simple past or present perfect?)

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    The main reason I asked this question here was not regarding simple past x present perfect usage. Rather, that main reason was the following:

    I think in the original sentence it is implied: "I spent more than I should have spent."
    As a matter of coherence and consistency I think the same tense should be used. So my opinion up to now (I will keep reading your posts) is that the sentence should read:
    "I spent more than I should (spend)." (both simple past)
    or
    "I have spent more than I should have (spent)." (both present perfect)
    Ymnisky,

    "I spent more than I should (spend)." (both simple past)

    "I should (spend)" is not the simple past. Why do you think it is?

    There are no rules for English that compel us to maintain tenses/parallel structures, especially when it comes to verb choice. If we followed such a rule, there would be many things that we couldn't say. That's obviously a completely untenable position for language.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 24
    Last Post: 28-Sep-2009, 06:33
  2. [Grammar] Past Simple or Present Perfect
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 21-Jul-2009, 21:55
  3. Past vs Present perfect
    By belly_ttt in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-Dec-2007, 06:01
  4. Simple Past vs Present Perfect
    By powerlerner in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 31-Oct-2007, 03:25
  5. Present perfect vs Past simple
    By pidr1nhu in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 28-Apr-2006, 05:17

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •