I did not sell my car, I decided to keep it.

I have not sold my car, I decided to keep it.

I have not sold my car, I have just decided to keep it.

What sentence is the more idiomatic. Is the second possible? Because both actions are located at the same time so they should have the same tense. It is difficult to say what comes first, the decision to keep it or the "non-selling".

  • 1
    You are mistaken to refer to the perfect as an event. It is not one; it doesn't refer to one. I have eaten caviar does not refer to a specific event consisting of the eating of caviar. Rather it expresses the idea that I am a person who, on one or more occasions, consumed some caviar.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 17:45
  • In other words, that which is expressed by the perfect is not "located in time" in the manner that the simple past locates an action in time.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:10
  • yes ok but is the second sentence possible, the meaning could be that the decision was taken first
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:30
  • 1
    All three are possible (although it's not clear exactly what you mean by "possible") and all are idiomatic. Only the third introduces a possible reference to time, because just can be read here as an adverb of time ("recently") or as meaning "only" or "simple". In the first two, you tell us nothing about when in the past you made the decision to keep the car. Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 21:24
  • If you use "I have not sold" you are not clearly saying that the action (selling) has ended (there is some possibility you still might sell it). But at the time of your statement it clearly has ended. So use "I did not sell my car" which indicates a completed action.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


I'm a English native, and I've tried saying all three, and the one that sounds best is:

I did not sell my car, I decided to keep it.

But I have been impacted by the Urban Dictionary, so this sounds the best to me:

I didn't sell my car, I just kept it.

I hope this is helpful!

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