I am aware this sort of question has been answered before but no answer was given, so here is my question.

"Until very recently the problem has been ignored". Even though a very short while ago, until very recently to me means past time, because the problem is no longer ignored. So why not use past simple "until very recently the problem was ignored". Is it because until very recently is not an exact indication of time?

thank you

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    The answer below talks about specific time, etc. That's not the primary factor when determining whether the past simple or the present perfect should be used. The present perfect isn't used with finished time periods. I don't think it's necessarily wrong to use the present perfect in this situation because it depends on how (tentatively) the speaker conceptualizes it, but until very recently can, and usually is, seen as a finished period. I would therefore use the past simple in your example. (And you can always use the past simple there to be safe, or even the past perfect.) – user3395 Jun 15 '18 at 12:08

Past Simple is used when you provide a specific time point—you pinpoint exactly when was it that something happened.

"Very recently" is also not an exact indication of time, you are right there. So, it's both that the problem "has been addressed very recently" (we don't know whether it's last week or last month, which could also be very recently if it had been ignored for 10 years before that). And it has been ignored also for an unspecified period of time.

Rule of thumb, Past Simple should be accompanied by exact time indications like "yesterday", "last week", "on Christmas eve", etc.

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  • @anouk You can "accept" the answer if it has helped you. Accepting the answer gives you +5 reputation, and +15 reputation to the user whose answer you've accepted. – tenebris2020 Feb 1 '18 at 13:36

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