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  1. xiaoen's Avatar
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    #1

    I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    Hello,

    Now we are in 2016. Let's suppose that I taught English to some students from 2005 to 2008 (three years) and now in 2016 I'm not teaching. According to this context, I want to say that I have three year experience of English teaching but I am not sure which of the below sentences is ok:

    1. I have been teaching English for three years.
    2. I have taught English for three years.
    3. I taught English for three years.

    Now I am confused. Could you please tell me what is the difference between 1 and 2 and 3? Which sentence is good for my context?

    Thank you.

  2. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    #1 means you are teaching English now, and have done so for the last three years (this one included).
    #2 means you taught for three years until the end of this one (that is, the school year has just finished).
    #3 is the one you are looking for. It says that you had the experience in the (not necessarily near) past.

    Hope it helps.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    Write I have three years' experience. It's possessive because it could be written the experience of three years, though we wouldn't really write that.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    2) is better than 3)

    Present tense is better when you want to say what experience you have. It doesn't matter when the teaching ended.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    2) is better than 3)

    Present tense is better when you want to say what experience you have. It doesn't matter when the teaching ended.
    I get your point, and it makes sense. Still, if it were my resume, I'd probably say I taught English for three years. It's accurate, concise, and unambiguous.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Present tense is better when you want to say what experience you have. It doesn't matter when the teaching ended.
    The underlined verb form is present perfect in I have taught English for three years. That would normally be taken to mean that the teaching extended up to the present time.

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    #7

    Re: I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    if it were my resume, I'd probably say I taught English for three years.
    We need to know more about the situation to make the best choice. Is this for a CV? If so, we probably wouldn't write a sentence like that anyway. We might say I have 3 years experience teaching English. (Note the present tense: 'experience' in the sense of 'life experience' is a present asset. This is different from I had 3 years experience...)

    If we use past tense, we consider it a past event but by using present tense, we can show that we consider this past event to be connected to the present. So it depends on the context and the situation -- who is speaking to whom and under what circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    The underlined verb form is present perfect in I have taught English for three years. That would normally be taken to mean that the teaching extended up to the present time.
    Not necessarily "normally", no. It depends on the situation but there's nothing about the above isolated sentence that can tell us about when the teaching happened. It's not the activity of teaching that continues up to the present time, it's the effect of having taught (i.e. the resulting experience) that makes a connection between past and present.

  5. Piscean's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    lIt depends on the situation but there's nothing about the above isolated sentence that can tell us about when the teaching happened. It's not the activity of teaching that continues up to the present time, it's the effect of having taught (i.e. the resulting experience) that makes a connection between past and present.
    I would agree if the sentence were 'I have taught English'. It's the 'for three years' that brings the activity up to the present.5.


    I taught English in Germany from 1972 to 1975.

    I have taught English.
    I have taught in Germany.
    I have taught English in Germany.

    I taught English in Germany for three years.

    I have taught English for three years. = from 2013 to 2016.

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    . . .If we use past tense, we consider it a past event but by using present tense, we can show that we consider this past event to be connected to the present. So it depends on the context and the situation -- who is speaking to whom and under what circumstances. . . .
    Yeah, that's why I said your point makes sense. It's a matter of taste. I'd want to set a different tone, but you're right, we don't know enough yet about the poster's tastes or intentions.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #10

    Re: I taught English from 2005 to 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I would agree if the sentence were 'I have taught English'. It's the 'for three years' that brings the activity up to the present.5.


    I taught English in Germany from 1972 to 1975.

    I have taught English.
    I have taught in Germany.
    I have taught English in Germany.

    I taught English in Germany for three years.

    I have taught English for three years. = from 2013 to 2016.

    • for three years is a duration of time
    • from 2013 to 2016 is a specified period of time

    These are different. Present perfect works with the former but not the latter.


    I've been to prison three times:

    • '88-'90 (2 years)
    • '92-'95 (3 years)
    • '05-'10 (5 years)

    All in all I've been in prison for ten years.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 05-May-2016 at 00:28.

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