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    #1

    Have told / told

    I'm having some problems understanding why should we use Past Tense (according to the answer key) instead of Present Perfect in the following sentence:
    "I told him to stay on the path while he was hiking, but he wandered off into the forest and was bitten by a snake".
    Is past tense "told" the only tense that can be used here? Since the time is not mentioned and we can see the results of the action ("he was bitten"), it's a little hard for me to understand why the use of past tense.

    I have the same problem when I tell my son :"I've told you to be well-behaved". Is it incorrect to use Present Perfect?

    Thank you in advance for your precious help!
    Last edited by mihallure; 21-Jan-2014 at 21:10.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Have told / told

    Quote Originally Posted by mihallure View Post
    I'm having some problems understanding why should we use Past Tense (according to the answer key) instead of Present Perfect in the following sentence:
    "I told him to stay on the path while he was hiking, but he wandered off into the forest and was bitten by a snake".
    Is past tense "told" the only tense that can be used here? Since the time is not mentioned and we can see the results of the action ("he was bitten"), it's a little hard for me to understand why the use of past tense.

    I have the same problem when I tell my son :"I've told you to be well-behaved". Is it incorrect to use Present Perfect?

    Thank you in advance for your precious help!
    The present perfect is fine in that context as well as the simple past..

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Have told / told

    Quote Originally Posted by mihallure View Post
    "I told him to stay on the path while he was hiking, but he wandered off into the forest and was bitten by a snake".
    Given that the wandering off and the being bitten are presented as past-time situations, then a past tense is necessary for TELL. A past perfect is possible, but a past simple suffices.
    I have the same problem when I tell my son :"I've told you to be well-behaved". Is it incorrect to use Present Perfect?
    Here the present perfect is natural - the consequences of the telling are assumed to extend to the present moment. The past simple is also possible if the speaker is thinking of the past time at which the telling took place.

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