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    #1

    when+present perfect

    I'm going to ask this question. Here's what I've heard from a native speaker born in Utah in conversation.

    "When have you been to America?" Would it be something native speakers might say in conversation but they are never going to use it formal English?

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    #2

    Re: when+present perfect

    I don't see anything wrong with the question. What do you think is informal or incorrect?

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    #3

    Re: when+present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't see anything wrong with the question. What do you think is informal or incorrect?
    SoothingDave is American. Had I, a speaker of BrE, got to this thread first, I would have said:

    I don't see anything wrong with the question. What do you think is informal or incorrect?



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    #4

    Re: when+present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't see anything wrong with the question. What do you think is informal or incorrect?
    Hope no hard feelings taken. We've always been taught by Ukrainian teachers that a "when question" must be proceeded with the past simple. Would there be some kind of a hint on this issue?
    Last edited by ostap77; 27-Sep-2011 at 21:53.

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    #5

    Re: when+present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    Hope no hard feelings taken. We've always been tought by Ukrainian teachers that a "when question" must be proceeded with the past simple. Would there be some kind of a hint on this issue?
    Yup.

    Your teachers are not wrong. Normally, 'when?' = 'at what time in the past?', and a past simple is the appropriate tense.

    However, it is possible to use 'when?' with the idea of 'at what time in your whole life, extending up to the present moment?'

    The interesting (or annoying - depending on your point of view) about many of your questions, ostap, is that they probe the bounds of what is 'acceptable'. I recommend that you do not use the present perfect with a 'when' question - but it's not necessarily wrong.

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    #6

    Re: when+present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't see anything wrong with the question. What do you think is informal or incorrect?
    Actually, we're not allowed to use the present perfect in "when" questions. That's why the OP asked about it. It's considered to be a mistake.
    Think of it this way.
    If you ask someone when, you already admit they HAVE done it at least once.
    The correct question should be "When were you in America?".

    There is a lovely discussion on this subject here.

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    #7

    Re: when+present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    Actually, we're not allowed to use the present perfect in "when" questions. Actually, nobody can stop us.
    That's why the OP asked about it. It's considered to be a mistake.Well, no - not always.
    Think of it this way. If you ask someone when, you already admit they HAVE done it at least once.
    The correct question should be "When were you in America?". Not always!

    There is a lovely discussion on this subject here.
    Yes, there is. Read it, and you will see that some people there feel, as I do, that the present perfect in 'when' questions is possible.
    @Bennevis - As I said to ostap, I do not recommend the use of the present perfect in 'when' questions. However, it is just not true to say that to use it is a mistake.

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    #8

    Re: when+present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    @Bennevis - As I said to ostap, I do not recommend the use of the present perfect in 'when' questions. However, it is just not true to say that to use it is a mistake.
    Well, it's your language. We can't go against how you use it in everyday life.

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    #9

    Re: when+present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    I'm going to ask this question. Here's what I've heard from a native speaker born in Utah in conversation.

    "When have you been to America?" Would it be something native speakers might say in conversation but they are never going to use it formal English?
    I can't see anything wrong with it either. Admittedly, we would be more likely to say "When did you go to America?" or "When were you in America?" but we do use the present perfect with "When" questions.

    When have you been depressed enough to miss a day at work?
    When has he ever been that stupid before?
    When have they had their photos taken by a professional photographer?

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    #10

    Re: when+present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    Well, it's your language. We can't go against how you use it in everyday life.
    I'll argue against myself now. It's not 'my' language. I happen to be a native speaker of it and, all other things being equal, I may be expected to have a better feeling for it than a non-native speaker. However, while I am fairly confident that the opinion I have expressed in this thread will be shared by other native speakers, I do not expect you to take my word for it just because I am a native speaker. Let's see what a couple of other native speakers think before you give up.

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