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I learned that it is incorrect to reference a time in past when using present perfect sentence such as this is wrong:

  • I have seen this car when I was a child.

So, I wondered how can the following be right?

  • I have just bought a car which I wanted to buy as a child.

Or, is it not right?

  • I think we don't use present perfect to reference a time in the past UNLESS an adverb of time, such as just, exactly specifies that past. See also "Today I have bought a car which I wanted to buy as a child." – P. E. Dant Jun 11 '17 at 21:42
  • "That" would be better than "which" but otherwise, I don't see a problem with your sentence. The past reference is just a description of the car, it's not related to your action. You could leave out "have", which would make it less clunky without really changing the meaning, but it isn't incorrect. – fixer1234 Jun 13 '17 at 2:54
  • When you ask: 'how can the following be right?', are you asking why we can use 'just' with the present perfect? – AmE speaker Jun 13 '17 at 14:59
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Your example doesn't make a connection between the present perfect and a past reference:

I have just bought a car which I wanted to buy as a child.

The sentence contains a main clause which can stand on its own: I have just bought a car, in which the present perfect is correctly used, and the relative clause: which I wanted to buy as a child, which is used only to identify the noun that precedes it.

Obviously, the absence of any temporal relation between the two sentences would have been more evident if you had written the example as two separate sentences:

I have just bought a car. This is the car I wanted to buy as a child.

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