Although I know the rules of PC and PP usage, I want to ask if that combination of tenses is okay. Can I use PC and PP together here?

You remember, I was writing an essay [1] on my computer and I have finished it [2].

[1] simply tells the person that I was doing something and it is just a fact while [2] emphasizes the fact that it has been finished (we don't know when, it could be finished a while ago etc). I believe I can say such sentence to somebody who saw me writing an essay and later I am telling them it is done.

Or maybe I should say it this way:

You remember, I was writing an essay on my computer and I finished it.

What about this:

I have finished the essay I have been writing.

I have finished the essay I was writing.

Are the sentences okay?

Thank you in advance.

  • Every one of them has a slightly different meaning. They are all right.
    – Lambie
    Aug 31, 2017 at 16:30
  • The first one is marginal. Am I remembering that you finished it? Is that your intended meaning? Or have you finished the essay that I remember you were writing?
    – TimR
    Aug 31, 2017 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


I'd say:

I have finished the essay I had been writing.

  • 1
    -1 because it's awkward. Much more fluent to say "I have finished the essay I was writing."
    – Robusto
    Aug 31, 2017 at 15:16
  • Correct! But I tried to use the structure the writer asked. Otherwise there are zillion ways to state the meaning.
    – Sina
    Aug 31, 2017 at 15:48
  • Sometimes the right answer is a different answer. Don't let OP paint you into a corner!
    – Robusto
    Aug 31, 2017 at 16:50
  • 1
    I don't see it as awkward. It might even be more suitable, depending on the context.
    – Ringo
    Aug 31, 2017 at 17:21
  • @Robusto Alright! I'll do mate.
    – Sina
    Aug 31, 2017 at 17:29

I see nothing whatever wrong with it, except that I feel an urge to add a word like "now" or "but" before "I have finished it". If you use "but" it replaces "and". "And" by itself suggests a continuity which makes the change of tense slightly jarring.

The other sentences are perfectly alright. Indeed you could say "I am finishing the essay I have been writing", or even "I will finish the essay I have been writing, tomorrow."

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