Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. nyota's Avatar
    Senior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 615
    #1

    Using present perfect with 'before'

    - I've seen that woman before but I can't remember where.

    We use present perfect to talk about a time from the past until now. If we specify the past by adding 'before' (if before, then not now, finished past), how to explain the use of 'have seen'?

  2. Bennevis's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Aug 2011
    • Posts: 1,052
    #2

    Re: Using present perfect with 'before'

    I hope I got it right.
    The present perfect tense can be thought of as a tense designed to present us with some kind of a result or a state of affairs, mainly over a certain period of time.

    I've never seen this guy before.

    Here I'm letting the listener/reader know that this is the 1st time I see the guy.

    Basically, in the long run, reading (and reading quality literature, like H.G. Wells or J. Grisham) can help you grasp the way these tenses really work.

  3. nyota's Avatar
    Senior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 615
    #3

    Re: Using present perfect with 'before'

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    I hope I got it right.
    The present perfect tense can be thought of as a tense designed to present us with some kind of a result or a state of affairs, mainly over a certain period of time.

    I've never seen this guy before.

    Here I'm letting the listener/reader know that this is the 1st time I see the guy.
    Here, however, I can see the result in the present more clearly. I've never seen him before - not until NOW. NOW is the first time I see him, as you said.

    But it doesn't seem to work as smoothly in the case of "I've seen her before". I saw her at some point in the past, maybe more than once, but in the past. There's the experience but where's the connection to the present? I feel that the sentence 'flows' and that it's right, but when I think about it, I can't seem to find a clear explanation.

  4. riquecohen's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 6,002
    #4

    Re: Using present perfect with 'before'

    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    Here, however, I can see the result in the present more clearly. I've never seen him before - not until NOW. NOW is the first time I see him, as you said.

    But it doesn't seem to work as smoothly in the case of "I've seen her before". I saw her at some point in the past, maybe more than once, but in the past. There's the experience but where's the connection to the present? I feel that the sentence 'flows' and that it's right, but when I think about it, I can't seem to find a clear explanation.
    You're right about your sentence; it is correct. This is an 'indefinite' time-expression, in which the present perfect is appropriate.

  5. Bennevis's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Aug 2011
    • Posts: 1,052
    #5

    Re: Using present perfect with 'before'

    I've seen her before.

    Here, like I said in my previous post, the listener/reader is presented with some kind of a result or rather EXPERIENCE.
    Have you ever experienced it?

    "I have been to New York" vs "I was in New York".

    "I have been to New York" implies that you have (IN GENERAL) experienced being in New York.

  6. nyota's Avatar
    Senior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 615
    #6

    Re: Using present perfect with 'before'

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    I've seen her before.

    Here, like I said in my previous post, the listener/reader is presented with some kind of a result or rather EXPERIENCE.
    Have you ever experienced it?

    "I have been to New York" vs "I was in New York".

    "I have been to New York" implies that you have (IN GENERAL) experienced being in New York.
    Yes, I understand the general concept of 'experience' here. It's just the word 'before' that I was sort of hanging on to. But now when I consider it in terms of an indefinite time expression, as riquecohen noted, it makes sense. 'Before' isn't very specific, it could be any time up till now.

    Thanks to both of you for contributing.

  7. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,215
    #7

    Re: Using present perfect with 'before'

    But note this sentence:

    I had never seen him before we ended up on the same flight. After we spent the flight talking, we couldn't be believe we hadn't met before, when we realized all the people we knew in common.

    Non-specific time up until a time in the past still uses "before" but in this case, uses past perfect.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. nyota's Avatar
    Senior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 615
    #8

    Re: Using present perfect with 'before'

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    But note this sentence:

    I had never seen him before we ended up on the same flight. After we spent the flight talking, we couldn't be believe we hadn't met before, when we realized all the people we knew in common.

    Non-specific time up until a time in the past still uses "before" but in this case, uses past perfect.
    Yep, I have no problem with this one, thanks Barb.

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

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 248
    #9

    Re: Using present perfect with 'before'

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    Here I'm letting the listener/reader know that this is the 1st time I see have seen the guy.
    See how this works? Perfect time to use the perfect tense!

    Not a teacher

  9. Bennevis's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Aug 2011
    • Posts: 1,052
    #10

    Re: Using present perfect with 'before'

    allenman,

    is that a mistake to say "Here I'm letting the listener/reader know that this is the 1st time I see the guy"?

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] Present perfect, simple past, present perfect progressive
    By dilodi83 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-May-2010, 08:44
  2. present perfect progressive & present perfect simple
    By sitifan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 25-Feb-2009, 16:34
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Aug-2008, 07:04
  4. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 14-Mar-2007, 16:13
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-Apr-2005, 03:34

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
  •