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  1. #1
    Franck87 is offline Newbie
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    How correct is using present perfect tense of some verbs for recent past events?

    I am more inclined to use present perfect tense (instead of simple past tense) for the actions/events that happens in recent past, making connection to the present. (Like mostly used in British English, for example I would say "I've dropped my pencil" instead of "I dropped my pencil")


    However when it comes to some verbs I realized that I always prefer simple past tense.


    Here is a sentence I used today:


    "I've found a solution. However I thought you already knew it"


    In this context "finding solution" and "thinking if he knows" are subsequent actions just seconds before the time of speaking, however why "have found" but not "have thought"? Indeed "thinking if he knows" is even more recent past than "finding solution".


    Is it appropriate to use below verbs making some relevance with the present in recent past conditions?


    "I have thought." instead of " I thought"


    "I have imagined" instead of " I imagined"


    "I have understood." instead of " I understood"

    If I prefer present perfect tense, does it sound wrong or unnatural or just very formal?

    There are very few hits on internet search for present perfect use of such verbs related with cognitive activity compared to simple past.


    I am not a native English speaker. Can you please explain reasoning behind such use that puzzles me? Is there any linguistic explanation?


    Input especially from native British English speakers will be more than appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: How correct is using present perfect tense of some verbs for recent past events?

    Hello Franck87, and welcome to the forum.

    I note that you've asked the same question elsewhere.

    https://www.englishforums.com/Englis...mclgz/post.htm

    Please do not post the same question simultaneously to more than one forum. Doing so wastes our valuable time. Instead, post your question to one forum and wait for replies. If you're not satisfied with those replies, you can try another forum, but please indicate in your thread that you've already asked the same question elsewhere (provide a link), and outline why you were not satisfied with the answers you received already.

    Also, are you really in Turkey?

  3. #3
    Franck87 is offline Newbie
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    Re: How correct is using present perfect tense of some verbs for recent past events?

    Hi Teechar, thanks for your welcome! I'm not in Turkey as of now.
    After some search, I wanted to be part of this vibrant community expecting more satisfactory answers and interactions in a language which I always want to improve my skills.
    So I wanted to ask this question again which really has drawn my attention.
    Indeed I have developed it and asked again :)

    Thanks again for your answers.

  4. #4
    Franck87 is offline Newbie
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    Re: How correct is using present perfect tense of some verbs for recent past events?

    Ok Piscean, I have changed it to Belgium now. I have been travelling in recent months a lot. I didn't think this issue is so important. I had just entered there my home country. Anyways believe in me I am not a troll or spammer. Sorry for this credibility concern. Look forward to receiving your replies :)

  5. #5
    teechar's Avatar
    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: How correct is using present perfect tense of some verbs for recent past events?

    Your question is a good one. However, please note the following two points:
    1- The present perfect has several other uses.
    2- Not all verbs indicate action. Some are stative (indicate a state).

    Having said that, it is possible to say, e.g.,

    I've just thought of an incredibly good idea.
    -----------------------------------------
    Oh Doctor Hooper, my son's temperature is quite high, and he's still delirious. He has just imagined being on a ship again.
    -----------------------------------------
    Our reporter on the scene has just understood that structural fatigue might have caused the bridge to collapse.

    Otherwise, the present perfect with the above verbs can indicate a state lasting up to the present, or something that started in the past and still has relevance to the present.

  6. #6
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    Matthew Wai is offline VIP Member
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    Re: How correct is using present perfect tense of some verbs for recent past events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck87 View Post
    I would say "I've dropped my pencil" instead of "I dropped my pencil"
    I think that depends on context.
    1. I have dropped my pencil, and I can't find it.
    2. I dropped my pencil, and I picked it up immediately.
    I am not a teacher.

  7. #7
    Franck87 is offline Newbie
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    Re: How correct is using present perfect tense of some verbs for recent past events?

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    Your question is a good one. However, please note the following two points:
    1- The present perfect has several other uses.
    2- Not all verbs indicate action. Some are stative (indicate a state).

    Having said that, it is possible to say, e.g.,

    I've just thought of an incredibly good idea.
    -----------------------------------------
    Oh Doctor Hooper, my son's temperature is quite high, and he's still delirious. He has just imagined being on a ship again.
    -----------------------------------------
    Our reporter on the scene has just understood that structural fatigue might have caused the bridge to collapse.

    Otherwise, the present perfect with the above verbs can indicate a state lasting up to the present, or something that started in the past and still has relevance to the present.
    Thanks teechar for your detailed answer.
    However can't I construct these sentences without "just"?
    Do you think "just" should be strictly used with these stative verbs in such contexts?

    Oh Doctor Hooper, my son's temperature is quite high, and he's still delirious. He has just imagined being on a ship again.

    What about this?

    Assuming there is a brainstorming meeting where a candidate must be chosen for a competition and nobody has had any idea whom to offer. Therefore there is struggle to find the right person and I say:

    "I have thought Mike may be a good candidate for the competition" instead of "I have just thought Mike may be a good candidate for the competition."

    Can you further elaborate if possible please?

  8. #8
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: How correct is using present perfect tense of some verbs for recent past events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck87 View Post
    Thanks teechar for your detailed answer.
    However, can't I construct these sentences without "just"?
    Do you think "just" should be strictly used with these stative verbs in such contexts?

    Oh Doctor Hooper, my son's temperature is quite high, and he's still delirious. He has just imagined being on a ship again.

    Yes, that one is fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck87 View Post
    What about this?

    Assuming there is a brainstorming meeting where a candidate must be chosen for a competition and nobody has had any idea whom to offer. Therefore, there is a struggle to find the right person, and I say:

    "I have thought Mike may be a good candidate for the competition."
    I would interpret that as, e.g., I have thought (all along/for a while), etc, not as shortly beforehand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Franck87 View Post

    "I have just thought Mike may be a good candidate for the competition."
    That doesn't really work for me. I would say, e.g.,
    I've just had a thought that Mike, etc.

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