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A son wanted to buy a camera, but his mother told him that they don't have enough money and then turned his attention to the gas bill. Here I understand that she wanted to drop him a hint that she has to pay the bills, so there is no money to buy a camera.

Mother: Have you seen this?

Son: No. What is it?

Mother: The gas bill. It arrived this morning. And we haven't paid the phone bill yet.

Sentence in bold is present perfect. I was explaining to my student that this sentence points to the thought that we have to pay the bill, so this sentence is not aimed at expressing the result we have not have now, but it points to the obligation we need to do. This way it is present perfect, but was not used purely for it's "natural" purpose.

What do you think?

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    I think you're conflating two completely distinct ways TO HAVE is used. In the present perfect construction I have paid it it's purely a "function word" (used to indicate a past tense verb form). This has no connection whatsoever to the usage in I have to pay it (i.e. - I must pay). Note that have is usually enunciated as haff there, strongly implying that this is actually a different word, rather than simply the same word used in a different way. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 27 '17 at 13:36
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    I don't understand what you're asking here. You've obviously got some mistaken ideas about the meaning of We haven't paid the bill if you think have there has some connection with "obligation". After all, if I say I haven't had chickenpox, that in no way implies I'm obliged to catch it in future (though if I append the word yet, this would at the very least imply I accept the possibility that I might still get chickenpox one day). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 27 '17 at 13:50
  • Not clear what you mean by the result we have not have now. Is there a typo or extra word in there? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 27 '17 at 13:56
  • yet means up to and including the present moment. Hence, present perfect: as of this moment the bill is still unpaid. This is not "obligatory/quasimodal" have, as in I have to [must] fix that leak. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 27 '17 at 13:58
  • I think I didn't provide enough context. It was a dialogue between a mother and a son. He wanted to buy a camera, but she told him that they don't have enough money and then turned his attention to the gas bill. Here I understand that she wanted to drop him a hint that she has to pay the bills, so there is no money to buy a camera. – Roman Filinski Jun 27 '17 at 16:42
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No. There's nothing about the obligation in "We haven't paid it yet", not even in the use of the perfect. It does imply that we are going to pay it (though it only implies that, it doesn't entail that, or commit us to) but there is nothing in the choice of words about the obligation.

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