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Thread: present perfect

    • Join Date: Jul 2005
    • Posts: 928

    present perfect


    could you please tell me whether the present perfect tense is correct in the following sentence:

    In 1991 I have started to run a business with my friend. (Their company still exists, so I suppose that present perfect should be OK)

    Thank you very much.


  1. matilda

    Talking Re: present perfect

    yes. it's correct

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: present perfect

    It's incorrect, because a definite time in the past is mentioned.

    The present perfect talks about the present, not the past -- it is, after all, the present perfect. The present perfect is used when the action is in the past, but the important thing is how it connects to the present.

    In your sentence, you are not concerned with how the past action relates to the present. What you are focusing on in that sentence is the year in which you started your company, and that was 1991 -- which is in the past.

    As a rule of thumb, if a time clause like this is included, you can't use the present perfect:

    I have written the letter, now I must post it. [The important thing is the existence of the letter now]

    I wrote the letter yesterday. [The important thing is when I wrote it. Whether the letter still exists or has been posted is not important in this sentence.]

    Time clauses with "for" and "since", though, are often used with the present perfect:

    I have been to America six times since 1990. [My trips to America did not all happen in 1990, they happened at different times between 1990 and now -- this is the connection with the present.]

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