Can anyone tell me why is not the Present Perfect tense used in the phrase "as far as I understand / understood" (I guess both are possible, correct me if I am wrong)?

  • This phrase means that I understood something in the past, and I still understand it now, so it refers to an interval of time up to now.
  • The fact that someone understood something is much more important than when or where it was done.
  • It has strong connection to the present: something, happening at the moment of speech, probably depends on whether someone understood / understands something or not.

And yet it seems that nobody says "as far as I have understood". Why?

1 Answer 1


I would say "as far as I understand" to mean my present, and possibly previous, understanding.

I would say "as far as I understood" to refer to a specific event in the past, when my understanding was possibly incorrect.

But I would not say "as far as I have understood." Why? Because it is not idiomatic.

  • If I have understood you correctly, you don't think the present perfect have understood combines with as far as. Do you have any thoughts about why that combination is unidiomatic?
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 13:16
  • Because it doesn't sound right. The tense is unrelated to the use of "as far as" which as I see it refers to the extend of the understanding, the knowledge that was available, not when it ocurred. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 14:56

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