I (see) ___________ Judy for more than five years and during that time I _______ (see) many changes in her personality.

My solution was

I have been seeing Judy for more than five years and during that time I saw many changes in her personality.

seeing = meeting

saw = I used the past simple because of "during that time" expression, so am I right?


Using saw in the second blank implies that you don’t expect to see any further changes in her personality.

I think have seen would be a better option; it matches the first part of the sentence better and assumes there may still be a few personality changes in the months and years ahead.

I have been seeing Judy for more than five years and during that time I have seen many changes in her personality.

  • Thank you. What about the first blank. could it be ' have seen', grammatically and logically? – Ghassan Saeed Dec 30 '17 at 21:43

during that time refers to another time in the current context, perhaps earlier in the sentence. It is that ultimate reference which will determine whether the present perfect is grammatical or not.

When I was a child, we lived in London. During that time, I have seen the Thames many times. ungrammatical

I have been dating her since college. During that time, I have never forgotten her birthday until today. grammatical

  • isn't there a mistake in the second sentence? (until now/today) refers that the action or the habit has ended so we use the past simple.' I didn't forget her birthday until today.' Or ' I didn't forget to get her a birthday gift until today when I was busy fixing my car.' – Ghassan Saeed Dec 30 '17 at 21:58
  • @user265113: No, there's no mistake in my second sentence. You are operating under a misconception that this involves a discrete action which began and ended in the past. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 30 '17 at 22:06
  • Can you please clarify more? is 'Until now' or 'Until today' can be used in different situations? – Ghassan Saeed Dec 30 '17 at 22:34
  • The sentence concerns a history of remembering her birthday which extends up to, and is set against, today's lapse. It is not simply the statement "I forgot her birthday today". That history, which includes recent history, is the justification for the present perfect. You could also use the simple past: "I never forgot her birthday until today" but that sentence, while grammatical, does not present the fact with the sense of immediacy conveyed by the present perfect, which expresses the underlying idea that the thing being spoken about has some bearing now, some relation to the present. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 31 '17 at 11:15

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