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    #1

    The most important thing that I learned

    Are the use of the simple past in the first clause and of the present perfect in the second one correct given that in the first one I am speaking of a specific period of time whereas there is not specific time period in the second?

    The most important thing I learned in school is...

    The most important thing I have learn is...

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The most important thing that I learned

    "The most important thing I have learned is..." is possible in the right context.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #3

    Re: The most important thing that I learned

    Or "... I have learnt is ...".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: The most important thing that I learned

    Quote Originally Posted by BloodSweatTears View Post
    Are the use of the simple past in the first clause and of the present perfect in the second one correct given that in the first one I am speaking of a specific period of time whereas there is not specific time period in the second?

    The most important thing I learned in school is...

    The most important thing I have learned is...
    Essentially yes.

    If you are no longer attending school, the simple past The most important thing I learned in school is... would be correct. (the period of your learning is located wholly in the past)

    If you are still attending school, then the perfect The most important thing I have learned is... would be correct. (the present perfect here is seen as having some current relevance, relevance to the present.)

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    #5

    Re: The most important thing that I learned

    And would it be correct to say The most important thing I have learned is... without still attending school, with the implicit meaning put into parenthesis: The most important thing I have learned (in my life) is...?
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 09-Apr-2016 at 18:46.

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    #6

    Re: The most important thing that I learned

    Yes.

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    #7

    Re: The most important thing that I learned

    Quote Originally Posted by BloodSweatTears View Post
    And would it be correct to say The most important thing I have learned is... without still attending school, with the implicit meaning put into parenthesis: The most important thing I have learned (in my life) is...?
    Sorry, I skimmed your second example and assumed it was also referring to school. As Piscean said, the answer is yes, and the reason is because you are still living. Your life/learning still has some current relevance (presumably!) If you said The most important thing I learned in my life ..., that might be interpreted as meaning you must be dead, or almost!

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    #8

    Re: The most important thing that I learned

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    If you said The most important thing I learned in my life ..., that might be interpreted as meaning you must be dead, or almost!
    It might (or at least the 'almost' bit), but I think it's possible if the context makes it clear that the speaker is referring to something like his working/active life. Having said that, I think that the present perfect is the normal and natural choice.

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    #9

    Re: The most important thing that I learned

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    If you said The most important thing I learned in my life ..., that might be interpreted as meaning you must be dead, or almost!
    The first interpretation would make little sense outside a zombie film. The second works- a speaker could use it on their deathbed.

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    #10

    Re: The most important thing that I learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The first interpretation would make little sense outside a zombie film. The second works- a speaker could use it on their deathbed.

    Oh, come on! It was obviously supposed to be humorous, and to make a point at the same time. You're nit-picking.

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