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I've got the difference between that tenses on a basic level (remembering the appropriate time markers helps me). But in some cases, I can't get the picture which the tense is more appropriate. Let's have a look at some example.

You have already received our letter, haven't you?

Yes, we received it last week and our specialists have studied it very carefully

Why should I employ the present perfect in the second part of the sentence (it is emphasized by italic)? Isn't it more reasonable to use the past simple there as in the first part? (mentioing by that that the specialists stydied it last week too).

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    it's perfectly valid to use past simple there, and actually, most north American speakers would say it with the past simple. that phrasing, (that I'm almost sure was written by some UK speaker) suggests that they still study it, or it left some insights which are still relevant for the present. – David Haim Jan 13 '18 at 15:50
  • I also want to add something very important. English tenses are not math. in many many cases, there's more than one tense which fits the scenario. each one emphasizes something else. if you can use many tenses for a given scenario, use the simplest one. native English speakers do the same. – David Haim Jan 13 '18 at 15:56
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    As usual, Present Perfect in your example emphasises relevance / nearness of past reported event to the present moment (to time of utterance). So Simple Past (our specialists studied it carefully) might be more appropriate if they finished carrying out their studies last week (nearer to when they got the letter), whereas Present Perfect (our specialists have studied it carefully) might imply they've continued studying it during this week (but have now finished). If they were still studying it at time of speaking, our specialists have been studying it carefully is better – FumbleFingers Jan 13 '18 at 16:06
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I'm just going to shamelessly copy FumbleFingers' comment:

As usual, Present Perfect in your example emphasises relevance / nearness of past reported event to the present moment (to time of utterance). So Simple Past (our specialists studied it carefully) might be more appropriate if they finished carrying out their studies last week (nearer to when they got the letter), whereas Present Perfect (our specialists have studied it carefully) might imply they've continued studying it during this week (but have now finished).

If they were still studying it at time of speaking, our specialists have been studying it carefully is better

To reiterate: The present perfect creates a connection between a past event and the present. The simple past does not. Both may be appropriate in many contexts, it all depends on what you want to say.

  • +1 for turning a comment into an answer the way it's supposed to be. – Nathan Tuggy Jan 14 '18 at 21:54
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I agree with the others. In my opinion "have studied" also emphasizes that they have paid attention to it.

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