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When I do a quick research all internet sources state there isn't simply any difference between using time adverb "just" with simple past tense and present perfect tense therefore saying "I just finished my homework" and "I have just finished my homework" or "I just ate" or "I have just eaten" mean the same. (Almost each source state simple past use with just is preferred in American English much more, some sources say "just" can be only used with present perfect tense)

I have a couple of questions with regard to function of "just".

If we use present perfect tense with time adverb "just" do we only imply the action happened in recent past or do we also imply there is a current relevance?

I believe there must be a reason to use perfect aspect of present tense with just.

I had asked similar contextual questions before on Ell Stack Exchange, allow me to wrap up my new question with context below.

In a context where I have been looking for my concert ticket for the last a couple of minutes is it correct to use below answers? (My friend informs me where the tickets are and I reply)

My friend: The ticket is on the desk. Me: I've just thought the same thing.

My friend: The ticket is on the desk. Me: I just thought the same thing.

I believe thinking is discrete event without strong current relevance and using present perfect with "just" is confusing.

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If we use present perfect tense with time adverb "just" do we only imply the action happened in recent past or do we also imply there is a current relevance?

Well, if you are mentioning the point in the first place, it is probably currently relevant. So I'm not sure what the distinction there would be. However, it can be used to emphasise the importance of the (recent) timing of the action.

For example, compare:

[Parent]: Go and clean your room!

[Child]: I have finished my homework.

vs.

[Child]: I have just finished my homework.

The child response without the 'just' is unclear: are they saying they shouldn't clean their room just because they have done their homework at some point in time?

In contrast, the second is clearly emphasising the timing of completing the homework. The child is pointing out that they just finished a strenuous task, and so are still recovering.

In a context where I have been looking for my concert ticket for the last a couple of minutes is it correct to use below answers?

A native speaker probably wouldn't even register the difference, unless they were analysing the statement closely. There probably is one, but I couldn't tell you the exact definitions, use cases, etc., of each.

I personally would use the second statement, but there is one thing to look out for. It is possible to interpret the phrase I just thought the same thing as you having solely that thought, to the exclusion of all else. I.e., it's like you said I only thought the same thing. The risk of this is low though, and probably resolved through context.

These questions may help further (from the English grammar and usage site): https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/276420/ive-just-bought-vs-i-just-bought-vs-i-bought https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/57869/present-perfect-for-past-action-with-present-effect

  • no in my examples "just" is used as time adverb. "I just thought the same thing doesn't mean" "I only thought the same thing." Similarly "I thought the same thing" can be preferred over "I've thought the same thing." Is the reason you prefer "I just thought the same thing" over "I've just thought the same thing" same with this? – bart Dec 31 '17 at 10:38
  • I know that was your intention, I was just saying that there is a possibility to misinterpret what you said. – Benjamin Gray Dec 31 '17 at 10:44
  • I prefer the one without 'have' because it's easier and quicker to say. Like I said, a native speaker (unless they study the English language) would not be able to tell the difference. – Benjamin Gray Dec 31 '17 at 10:46
  • Hi Benjamin Gray, in the same context would you again prefer "I thought the same thing" over "I've thought the same thing" because of the same reason(easier and quickier) rather than semantical differences? – bart Dec 31 '17 at 10:52
  • "I thought the same thing", "I was thinking the same thing", "I just thought of that too", (and more) are all phrases I might use. No particular preferences. I probably would not say "I've thought the same thing". – Benjamin Gray Dec 31 '17 at 12:15

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