Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Mar 2020
    • Posts: 9
    #1

    I met you before/I have met you before

    Dear teachers,


    I came across a book called "Better Ways with Verbs" by John Platt. In a chapter on "tenses", two characters are in conversation:


    Irene: Oh, I met you before.
    Peter: Yes, you have met me before. We met last week at Josie's party.


    According to the author, "it would have been better for Irene to have said: 'Oh, I've met you before' as she is counting meetings up to the present time.


    My question is, as "before" clearly denotes the period of time preceding the present, why can't it be in the simple past tense whether or not the meeting has any relevance to the present.


    Thank you very much.

  2. VIP Member
    Retired English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Europe
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Jul 2015
    • Posts: 16,384
    #2

    Re: I met you before/I have met you before

    'Before' denotes here the period of time beginning in the past and continuing up to the moment of speaking.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
    Moderator
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 54,123
    #3

    Re: I met you before/I have met you before

    The difference between the past simple and the present perfect is something that confuses many learners. Sometimes, it's just a case of learning patterns.

    I met you last week.
    I met you in 2018.
    I met you at 10pm.

    I have met you before.
    I have met you twice.
    I have met you many times.

    In the examples above, you will notice that the past simple is followed by a specific time reference, and that the present perfect is followed by a less specific time reference. It gets a bit more complicated when two time references are used together. For example:

    I met you twice in 2018.
    I met you many times when we both lived in Porto.

    As you can see, the specific time references ("in 2018" and "when we both lived in Porto") take precedence, leading to the past simple being used.

    (I'm sure an experienced grammarian can explain it much better than that!)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 69,575
    #4

    Re: I met you before/I have met you before

    The author says it would have been better to use the present perfect. The author does not say it is wrong to use the past. I agree with the author.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 30-Mar-2020 at 14:25. Reason: Fixed typo

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Mar 2014
    • Posts: 11,739
    #5

    Re: I met you before/I have met you before

    Quote Originally Posted by Andromeda View Post
    My question is, as "before" clearly denotes the period of time preceding the present, why can't it be in the simple past tense whether or not the meeting has any relevance to the present.
    With the present perfect, the present relevance is shown. With the past simple, no present relevance is shown.

    In this example, the present perfect is better for precisely that reason.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •