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1.The price of butter in my local supermarket has gone down in the past two days.

2.The price of butter in my local supermarket went down in the past two days.

I don't get any difference between them, if I use #1 in the non-continuative sense. Can any one tell me what the difference between them is?

Thanks.

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    There's an almost imperceptible difference in nuance. #1 focuses more on the fact that butter is currently cheaper than it used to be only a few days ago. #2 puts a bit more emphasis on the specific event in the recent past (the fact that the price was reduced). But for most purposes you can assume they're equivalent, and that standard principles of English apply (don't use a more complex tense if you can get away with a simpler one). Aug 10 '16 at 15:38
  • Thank you so very much FF. But does #2 say that the butter is currently cheaper than it used to be a few days ago? Or can #2 be used when the price has actually increased after going down?
    – Policewala
    Aug 10 '16 at 16:10
  • You could in principle say something like The price has gone up and down in the past two days, and there's nothing to stop you using went instead of has gone there. But I really think you're overthinking this obscure point. Don't go looking for places where you might be able to use present perfect. Unless you already know exactly why you need a more complex tense, just stick with simpler tenses. Bear in mind most native speakers probably wouldn't recognize or make use of the distinction I made above, so in practice it really doesn't mean much at all. Aug 10 '16 at 16:33
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The temporal phrase in the past two days defines the time-span from the point-of-view of the present moment. That span is "attached" to the present moment, like a cart to a horse or a tail to a kite. It refers to the time including and immediately preceding the present moment.

For that reason, we use the present perfect, has gone down.

By contrast, the price of butter went down two days ago.

P.S. The deciding factor is whether the time-phrase is connected to the present; the connection to the present is the key factor:

The height of the mountain range has changed over the last 400 million years.

"Over the last 400 million years" includes today and includes the span of past time of 400 million years reaching up to today.

If the sentence lacks a specific time reference, the tense establishes one that includes the present.

The height of the mountain range has changed over time.

In the sentence above, the speaker is referring to a mountain range that exists today, whose height has not been constant. In the sentence below, the speaker is referring to the mountain range as one which has stopped changing, or as one which no longer exists, which can indeed happen over the course of geological time:

The height of the mountain range changed over time.

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