[Grammar] I have helped you with the car repair, go and ask Max to do it

astepforward

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Is the 2) version of John's responses the only applicable option from these two below? Is it due to the fact that John's mum knows the time of the car repair (it can be considered as a specific time) and we use the simple past in such cases even if it is a kind of retrospective-explanatory utterance which begs for the perfect aspect?


Mum: John, mow the lawn before you leave!


1) John: I have helped you with the car repair, go and ask Max to do it
2) John: I helped you with the car repair, go and ask Max to do it
 

teechar

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Is the [STRIKE]2)[/STRIKE] second version of John's responses the only applicable option from these two below? Is it due to the fact that John's mum knows the time of the car repair (it can be considered as a specific time) and we use the simple past in such cases even if it is a kind of retrospective-explanatory utterance which begs for the perfect aspect?

Mum: John, mow the lawn before you leave!
That's fairly blunt, but not impossible. A more likely request would be "John, would you mow the lawn before you leave (please)?"

1) John: I have helped you with the car repair. Go and ask Max to do it.
2) John: I helped you with the car repair. Go and ask Max to do it.
Those are also blunt and even rude, but again they are not impossible.

Both tenses are possible in casual everyday speech. With the present perfect, John is emphasizing the fact that the act of helping is still relevant to the current situation.
 
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Tarheel

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Perhaps:

Mum: Don't forget to mow the lawn.
John: But I fixed the car. Can't you ask Max to mow the lawn?
 
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astepforward

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Both tenses are possible in casual everyday speech. With the present perfect, John is emphasizing the fact that the act of helping is still relevant to the current situation.
I'm sorry for my questions being too straightforward or even blunt sometimes. I don't have this 'feel' yet, but I will work on that.

I know from my previous thread on a similar 'present perfect vs past simple' topic that when a time is specific we should use the past simple tense. This 'specific time' doesn't have to be said directly, it can be understood by the person we're speaking with. Isn't the time of car repair specific and understood to Mum in the example above? I believe she knows when the car repair (that John is referring to) took place. Isn't then the past simple (I helped you) the most appropriate choice here?

When I tried to show the present relevance in a parallel example in my previous thread by using the present perfect tense, I was told not to do so.

I really struggle to comprehend all the nuances associated with these two tenses, so I hope you don't mind me keeping asking.
 

emsr2d2

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I'm sorry for my questions being too straightforward or even blunt sometimes. I don't have this 'feel' yet, but I will work on that.

A relatively simple way of getting a "feel" for it would be to just assume that whenever you use an imperative, it could be construed as rude or abrasive or blunt.
 

5jj

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Isn't the time of car repair specific and understood to Mum in the example above? I believe she knows when the car repair (that John is referring to) took place. Isn't then the past simple (I helped you) the most appropriate choice here?
As teechar has already told you, both past simple and present perfect are possible. Which is more appropriate depends on the way in which the speaker is looking at the situation.
 

astepforward

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So I understand it also applies to the following dialogue from my previous thread:

Student A: Do you know what the homework is?
Student B: I paid / have paid no attention to Mr. Smith's explanation. I can't help you.

The choice of a tense is up to us depending on what way we're looking at the situation, yes?
 

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Could you please explain what is the difference which makes it inappropriate? Both situations (helping with the car repair and not paying attention to Mr. Smith explanation) happened at the time known to the person John / Student B is talking to. I need to know the difference to make the right choice in other similar situations.
 

jutfrank

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I'm not sure why you're thinking about whether the listener knows what time the past actions happened, but you seem to be thinking on the wrong lines.

Focus on what the speaker means, not the listener. The speaker uses past simple when thinking about a past action or event, and present perfect when focusing on some kind of present result of a past action or event.
 

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Ok, so not focusing on the listener. Why can't I express the present result (lack of knowledge and being unable to inform the listener about the homework details) with the present perfect tense? I'd like to focus on this particular result of the past situation (not paying attention).

I would like to do something similar to:
I have eaten - meaning: I am not hungry
I have paid no attention - meaning: I have no information
 

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Sorry for being a pain in the neck, but could you please provide me with a rule why the past simple is the only proper choice here? I find it so similar to the dialogue in the original post where (according to teechar's answer) it is possible to use both tenses depending on a point of view.


Student A: Do you know what the homework is?
Student B: I paid / have paid no attention to Mr. Smith's explanation. I can't help you.
 

emsr2d2

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"I paid" is grammatically correct but not natural. We'd say "I wasn't paying attention ...". You need the continuous there because his explanation would have been longer than just a single point in time. You weren't listening at any point during that explanation.
 

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"I paid" is grammatically correct but not natural. We'd say "I wasn't paying attention ...". You need the continuous there because his explanation would have been longer than just a single point in time. You weren't listening at any point during that explanation.
Ok, if the continuous is needed, can I use the present perfect continuous? If not, why not?
 

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You told us that the teacher's explanation was given in the past. You cannot use a present perfect about your not paying attention in past time. The not paying attention does not extend beyond the past time mentioned.
 

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You told us that the teacher's explanation was given in the past. You cannot use a present perfect about your not paying attention in past time. The not paying attention does not extend beyond the past time mentioned.
I have helped you with the car repair, go and ask Max to do it.

In the example above, according to teechar's answer, the present perfect can be used as well as the past simple. I believe that helping with the car repair also doesn't extend beyond the time of the actual repair (eg. repairing for 2 hours yesterday) and still we can use the present perfect. What is the difference?
 

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"I have helped you with the car repair" suggests than she was repairing the car, and he provided some assistance.

Did you not like my dialogue?
 

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Everything is fine with your dialogue, but it helps me not that much. It's not possible to have a prepared and appropriate dialogue for every life scenario. I would rather try to build my own sentences based on the rules I know. But some tend to overlap or even negate each other, which confuses me a lot. Like in the examples mentioned above, I feel confused about when both the present perfect and the past simple can be used almost interchangeably and when we should stick to the one proper choice only. In the post #15 I have received (I received?) a hint that I can't use the present perfect tense for actions that not extend beyond the past time. I also find it quite confusing, because I believe we can say: I can't play with you, because I've broken my arm. or: I feel so sick, I've been partying too hard. A moment of breaking an arm or party time don't extent the past time, they are over and still the present perfect tense can be used. Do you have any further advice?
 

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Say:

Everything is fine with your dialogue , but it doesn't help me much.

And:

In post #15 ....

And:

I received some advice. (I would say: "I got some advice.")

The purpose of the dialogues is to show natural English being used in real life situations.
 
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