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    • Join Date: Oct 2008
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    #1

    present perfect problems

    Problem: how do we say, "I always wanted to go to France" or "I have always wanted to go to France" ? please help! with an explanation as well...if possible. It is pretty difficult for non native speakers of English language to understand Present Perfect, as in French for instance, one is unable to "visualize" it ... And another sentence: "Mary never goes/ went/has gone to concerts"?!? the present simple and the present perfect both work in this case, isn't it? but...is it the case of past simple as well? Thank you thank you!

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: present perfect problems

    Use the simple past to state a fact. Use the present perfect to express a continuum of time.

    [1] I always wanted to go to France. <fact>
    [2] I have always wanted to go to France and someday I might just get the chance / and I'm going today!

    [3] Mary never went to concerts when she was young. <fact>
    [4] Mary has never gone to concerts and I doubt she will in the near future.


    • Join Date: Oct 2008
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    #3

    Re: present perfect problems

    Thank you a lot for the reply :)

    may I have another question? "Who plays the piano on your class?" or Who play the piano.." I appreciate your interest :)


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    #4

    Re: present perfect problems

    "Who plays the piano in your class?"

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: present perfect problems

    If you would like a BrE perspective;
    [4] Mary has never been to a concert and I doubt that she will go (to one) in the near future.
    Last edited by bhaisahab; 05-Oct-2008 at 11:03.


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
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    #6

    Re: present perfect problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Anamnesis View Post
    Problem: how do we say, "I always wanted to go to France" or "I have always wanted to go to France" ? please help! with an explanation as well...if possible. It is pretty difficult for non native speakers of English language to understand Present Perfect, as in French for instance, one is unable to "visualize" it ... And another sentence: "Mary never goes/ went/has gone to concerts"?!? the present simple and the present perfect both work in this case, isn't it? but...is it the case of past simple as well? Thank you thank you!
    Yes, and it may help to see it from a different angle. Like this:

    A "I always wanted to go to France" or "I have always wanted to go to France"

    In American English they mostly use the past simple where in British English we would use the present perfect. So for the above two sentences:

    - In Amercian English the sentence with the past simple could mean the same as the present perfect one ie It’s still true that I want to go to France (In French: J’ai toujours voulu aller en France) OR - depending on the context - it could mean that for some reason, my desire to go to France is no longer true [In French you’d have “Je voulais toujours aller en France (jusqu’à ce que j’aie compris combien la vie est chère là-bas.)]

    - In British English the sentence with the past simple can only mean mean that for some reason, my desire to go to France is no longer true [In French: “Je voulais toujours aller en France (jusqu’à ce que j’aie compris combien la vie est chère là-bas.)]

    - In British English, the sentence with the present perfect means it’s still true that I want to go to France (In French: J’ai toujours voulu aller en France)

    B... And another sentence: "Mary never goes/ went/has gone to concerts"?!?

    - Mary never goes to concerts means of course that this was true in the past, is still true today and will probably be true in the future. (In French: Mary ne va jamais à un concert.)

    - Mary never went to concerts is restricted to the past (even in American Englsh, where they are obliged to make the distinction if the meaning isn’t clear.) It means either that she is dead now or else that in the past she didn’t go to concerts (but now things have changed and she has started going to concerts for some reason.) (In French: Mary n’allait jamais à un concert.)

    - Mary has never gone to concerts means that up until now she has never gone to concerts. (In French: Mary n’est jamais allée à un concert)

    Hope this is clear?

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