I know he killed my brother 5 years ago. I saw it myself.

It could be had killed and have seen.

You should go to doctor. I told you already.

It could be have told.

Please explain the concept to me.


We usually use "had" to arrange two events in the past.

He had killed my brother when I came there.

had killed occured before came and both occurred in the past. Also, the effect of the first event continues to the time of the second event.

We use "have" for a verb that began in the past and its effect continues to the present.

A: Please clean the room.

B: I have done it.

It means it has been done and, for example, there is no need to be done again. Now consider:

A: Please clean the room.

B: I did it yesterday. now its your turn to clean the room.

In this example did refers to an event that began and finished in the past, and its effects doesn't necessarily continue to the present.

In your examples, there is no need for the first or second usages. In your first example, killed and saw occur at the same time in the past.


"I know he has killed my brother 5 years ago" makes no sense, as "has killed" is talking about a recent present, and you are talking about something that happened 5 years ago.

"I had seen myself" in this context doesn't make any sense at all.

"I saw it my self" or "I have seen it myself" would be correct, but again, if you use the second one, you are talking about recent present, while with the first one you could have seen it yesterday, or 5 years ago.

"I told you already" suggest you have told something to someone in the past, probably many times, as a warning.

"I have told you to go to the doctor a thousand times" for example, sounds like if you were warning that person again. I wouldn't use "I have told you already", but it may be gramatically correct.

  • what about "had killed"? Sep 9 '16 at 7:16
  • An error is edited. Sep 9 '16 at 7:17
  • @AnubhavSingh; "An error is edited"... what kind of sentence is that? How about writing a proper sentence, something like "I edited my question and changed "has" to "had". Then we don't have to guess what you mean.
    – JavaLatte
    Sep 9 '16 at 10:13
  • "Had killed" implies a possibility. E.g.: "If he had killed my brother, I would have reported the murder". Sep 9 '16 at 10:33
  • Why do you say that "has killed" is talking about a recent present? I've seen this concept mentioned before here, but IMO the use of the present perfect has nothing to do with recentness, only with relating past events to the present. For example, you could just as easily and correctly say "The city has been besieged many times over the last thousand years."
    – stangdon
    Sep 9 '16 at 13:03

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