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  1. #1
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    present perfect / past simple

    I can't believe I (get) got that apartment. I (submit) submitted my application last week, but I didn't think I had a chance of actually getting it. When I (show) showed up to take a look around, there were at least twenty other people who (arrive) had arrived before me. Most of them (fill, already) had already filled out their applications and were already leaving. The landlord said I could still apply, so I did.

    That's an excerpt from an exercise on distinguishing between the past perfect and the past simple tenses (https://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/verbs11.htm). I was puzzled at first when in the first sentence saw "got" and in the second "submitted" because I expected that there should be the time shift to the past perfect. Having reflected upon this a bit, I arrived at a conclusion that there wouldn't have been a problem for me if the present perfect had been used in the sentence instead of the past simple:
    I can't believe I've got that apartment. Do I understand it correctly? Had I better think of such past-simple-tense sentences as of present-perfect ones so that it is clearer where to make a time shift?

    By the way, is it American English?
    Last edited by GeneD; 13-Sep-2017 at 11:02.

  2. #2
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: present perfect / past simple

    Look in your dictionary and see all the many, many ways we use the word get and its variations.

    1. I can't believe I got that apartment. Here, 'getting the apartment' means being awarded permission to live there. 'I can't believe I was chosen over all the others.'

    2. I can't believe I've got that apartment. To me, this has more the meaning of having possession of the property. 'I can't believe I have that apartment.'

    ...there wouldn't have been a problem for me if the present perfect had been used in the sentence instead of the past simple That is correct- it's not really a problem, as the meaning is practically (but not exactly) the same.

  3. #3
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: present perfect / past simple

    I've already asked this as a by-the-way question, but now it seems not as by-the-way as it seems. Is it American English? Is such a tense usage natural for the British? I learned somewhere (can't remember where exactly) that there are some differences between the two varieties of English when it comes to the present perfect usage. I googled it, and here it is: the article on this topic with similar examples: https://www.myhappyenglish.com/free-...rammar-lesson/. The truth is, I don't trust articles and grammar rules as much. I've learned by experience that it's sometimes better to ask a native speaker about the language. Could you help me solve this little problem? If it's just a variety, I'm going to think about this from the British point of view to make things easier. If not, I'll try to know a bit more about such tense differences.

  4. #4
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    Matthew Wai is offline VIP Member
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    Re: present perfect / past simple

    1. I can't believe I got that apartment, but I have decided to give it up because I have found a better one.
    2. I can't believe I've got that apartment, and I will move to it as soon as possible.

    I think they are possible.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: present perfect / past simple

    I'd use "move in" instead of "move to it" in #2.

  6. #6
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: present perfect / past simple

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    1. I can't believe I got that apartment, but I have decided to give it up because I have found a better one.
    2. I can't believe I've got that apartment, and I will move to it as soon as possible.

    I think they are possible.
    In the first example the past simple seems appropriate, but the context is different. In the excerpt in post 1 the speaker considers himself or herself lucky and is obviosly going to move in the new appartment. The context of your 2 example, to me.

    (edited) No, sorry, it's obvious from the entire text of the exercise, not from the excerpt. https://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/verbs11.htm
    Last edited by GeneD; 14-Sep-2017 at 12:45. Reason: added some more information and fixed some mistakes

  7. #7
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Matthew Wai is offline VIP Member
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    Re: present perfect / past simple

    I think the context below agrees with the one in your exercise.
    1. I can't believe I got that apartment, and I have decided to refurbish it before moving in.

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    I'd use "move in" instead of "move to it" in #2.
    Having read the above, I think 'the new apartment' below can be omitted.
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    to move in the new appartment.
    I am not a teacher.

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