When I was in Sharm El-Sheikh, I .... a lot

A) Have sunbathed B) Was sunbathing C) Would sunbathe D) Sunbathed

why it can't be "have sunbathed" as verb sunbathe means to make the skin brown or darker and that has an affect and continue for a period of time so why it can't be A


In order to use the present perfect with a time-phrase, the time-phrase must not exclude the present.

When I was in Sharm El-Sheikh ... is a time-phrase that refers to the past and it thus excludes the present. It and the present perfect are incompatible.


The verb "have sunbathed" is in the present perfect tense. The present perfect is used to speak about something that happened at an undisclosed time in the past and which has a relationship with the present. The verb "was" is in the past tense.

The phrase "When I was in..." implies that you are about to tell us something that happened in the past, so you must use some variant of the past tense (e.g. past, past continuous, etc) to do so. This is not to say that the present perfect and past tenses can never be used together; they can, e.g. I was in Sharm El-Sheikh last week, I have vacationed there a lot.

Sunbathing means to sit or lie in the sun. It does not mean "to make the skin brown or darker", although that is often a consequence of sunbathing, and frequently an intended consequence. The correct term for "making the skin brown" is tanning. People will sometimes say they are sunbathing when they are actually lying in the shade, enjoying the warmth. In this case the likelihood of tanning is reduced.

People can sunbathe for many reasons other than to get a tan, e.g.:

  • they may have a medical condition that is improved by exposure to UV radiation, such as psoriasis or vitamin D deficiency,
  • sunbathing releases endorphins that make them feel good,
  • they are relaxing for a period in between swimming at the beach or pool.
  • 2
    You are using the word together rather loosely. Together in the same conversation yes, but not together in the same clause. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 13 '18 at 11:21
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo I agree that in my example the two tenses are not in the same clause - offhand I cannot think of a way to do that. If you, or anyone else, knows of an example I would be gratified to see it. Sentences B, C and D, which appear to be grammatically correct, all contain a dependent and an independent clause. I drafted my example to follow the same pattern. My main concern was that I did not want the OP to think that there was no way at all in which these two tenses could be used in same sentence. – James Jun 14 '18 at 14:55

Because "have sunbathed" does not match the verb tense of the rest of the sentence.

A. When I have been to Sharm El-Sheikh, I have sunbathed a lot.
B. While I was in Sharm El-Sheikh I was sunbathing a lot.
C. If I were in Sharm El-Sheikh I would sunbathe a lot.
D. When I was in Sharm El-Sheikk I sunbathed a lot.

  • 2
    Although an honest statement on my part would be E. If I went to Sharm El-Sheikh my skin would catch fire if I went near the windows. – Rupert Morrish Jun 13 '18 at 0:54
  • XD Edit your answer! Jokes don't last long in comments here. ;-P – RubioRic Jun 13 '18 at 8:59

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