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I'm trying to get rid of some gaps in my knowledge of Pre-Int. grammar, so I'm working with a PET course book. And I've discovered some confusing things in some quite easy tasks...

1) The task is to use Present Perfect:

I ... (phone) my Granny and I ... (see) my cousins and I ... (say) goodbye to them.

My answer is:

I've phoned my Granny and I've seen my cousins and I've said goodbye to them.

Well, due to the keys I'm wrong and it should be said instead of have said:

I've phoned my Granny and I've seen my cousins and I said goodbye to them.

But why? I've searched for similar sentences and I've found a couple:

I have seen and heard this many times anecdotally.
I have seen and done a number of strange things.

Ok, it's clear here - we have only one subject, so something like "I've seen ... and said ..." is fine.

But in my example there are two subjects. So, is it still ok to use one auxiliary verb instead of two? What I want to understand is, is my sentence wrong or are they both possible?

  • "I've phoned my Granny and I've seen my cousins and I said goodbye to them" sounds rather strange, because the tenses are inconsistent. It should either be "and I've said goodbye" or "and said goodbye". Are you sure the third "I" is really present in the answer key? – Peter Shor Nov 19 '16 at 20:58
  • Yes, I'm pretty sure about that. Here are the screenshots from the book: lostpic.net/image/QpqG lostpic.net/image/QpqJ (the book is called Grammar for PET) So... A mistake in the keys, I guess?... – Xandria Flammel Nov 20 '16 at 21:23
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I think what they're probably looking for is for you to use have only once in the sentence, and to have it govern all the verbs.

I've phoned my Granny and seen my cousins and said good-bye to them.

That is a compact way of saying

I have phoned my Granny and [have] seen my cousins and [have] said good-bye to them.

Note that this example is not wrong, it's just wordy. It could be used if you are trying to emphasize each of the steps.

Wordier still would be

I have phoned my Granny and I have seen my cousins and I have said good-bye to them.

This has a rhetorical redundancy to it that should be used only if you are pretending to be a tragic actor declaiming from the stage.

Now, if you want to draw a distinction between the two subjects, and sever the relationship of their predicates, try using a comma.

I've phoned my Granny, and I've seen my cousins and said good-bye to them.

Now the two predicates that relate to the cousins are treated individually.

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  • Thank you a lot for your examples. I got your explanations and they do coincide with my own thoughts on this topic, but I'm dealing with a strick exersice and "fill-the-gaps task". Here are the screenshots from the book: the task - lostpic.net/image/QpqG and the keys - lostpic.net/image/QpqJ ... So, I wonder, should I just cross this answer out and never relay on the keys ever again or just leave it as it is because it's possible and correct? – Xandria Flammel Nov 20 '16 at 21:34
  • @Xandria: it's not correct as the answer to an exercise. It's something that I can imagine a native English speaker saying, but I've said is much more likely and much better. – Peter Shor Nov 25 '16 at 12:46

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