The exercise below comes from my English textbook:

Source: http://gymn1.baranovichi.edu.by/ru/main.aspx?guid=32441

Decide which answer A, B, C or D best fits each space.

Dear Linda,

I’m sorry I haven't written to you for so long, but I have been very busy lately. All last month I had exams, and I haven't done anything else but study for ages. Anyway, I have stopped studying now., and I am waiting for my exam results.

As you can see from the letter, I have changed my address and live in Corydon now. I __________ that I wanted a change from central London because it has become so expensive. A friend of mine told me about this flat, and I moved here about two months ago.

When you come to London this summer, please visit me. I am staying here until the middle of August. Then I am going on holiday to Scotland.

Please write soon,


A. decided

B. have decided

C. was deciding

D. decide

The given answer key is B (have decided). I think the author uses the present perfect in order to suggest that the decision made in the past is still of importance in the present.

Is it possible for me to choose A (decided) - the simple past tense? If so, is there any difference in the meaning between option A & B in this case?

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    Your book (or this exercise) was very obviously written by a non-native English speaker. If the "correct" answer have decided is used, the verb want must be in the present, not the past tense: I have decided that I want a change from central London because it has become so expensive. If that error were corrected, B would be the correct answer, but with the error in place, only A is grammatically correct. B is the wrong answer. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Aug 30 '16 at 3:46
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    I wish you good luck in explaining that to whoever screwed the exercise up at the Byelorussian site! – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Aug 30 '16 at 3:58
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    Yes, the "best" choice (in American English) is decided. From the same language perspective, the present perfect is more likely only if want is in the present, not past tense. However, and here is why it says the "best answer", all four given verb tenses (including the present perfect with wanted) can be grammatically correct in that sentence, but we've talked about which two would be most likely. – Alan Carmack Aug 30 '16 at 4:04
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    @doquan0 It's important that you understand that (contrary to my first comment) all four choices could be interpreted as correct. As AlanCarmack points out, the exercise asks for the best answer, not the correct one. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Aug 30 '16 at 4:46
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    Could we really say As you can see from the letter, I have changed my address and live in Croydon now. I decide that I wanted a change ...? In isolation we could accept that decide would be grammatical, and perhaps be part of some larger narrative. In this context, following I have have changed my address the switch to present tense seems very odd to me. – djna Aug 30 '16 at 7:35

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