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    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 10
    #1

    Past simple or present perfect?

    I have to choose between these two but I don't know which one is correct. Please help me:

    1. Did you see that important psychologist when you were at the meeting?
    2. Have you seen that important psychologist when you were at the meeting?

  1. Kraken's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 333
    #2

    Re: Past simple or present perfect?

    I would choose the first one.
    "...when you WERE at the meeting" suggests the meeting is finished, it happened sometime in the past
    The Present Perfect has a durative meaning. It is used when the time period has NOT finished:
    I have seen three movies this week.
    (This week has not finished yet.)
    The simple past is used when the time period HAS finished:
    I saw three movies last week.
    (Last week is finished.)
    The present perfect is often used when giving recent news:
    Martin has crashed his car again.
    (This is new information.)
    The simple past is used when giving older information:
    Martin crashed his car last year.
    (This is old information.)
    The present perfect is used when the time is not specific:
    I have seen that movie already.
    (We don't know when.)
    The simple past is used when the time is clear:
    I saw that movie on Thursday.
    (We know exactly when.)
    The present perfect is used with for and since, when the actions have not finished yet:
    I have lived in Victoria for five years.
    (I still live in Victoria.)
    The simple past is used with for and since, when the actions have already finished:
    I lived in Victoria for five years.
    (I don't live in Victoria now.)

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