Is the following correct:

I am aware of what I did.

Or, is it supposed to be:

I am aware of what I've done.

Can someone explain?


Both can be correct depending on the context in which they are said.

Example 1. Simple past - used when talking about an action that occurred, and was completed, in the past and does not consider any on-going effects or consequences (if any) of that action in the present. NOTE: The use of the past tense does not mean that there are no on-going effects or consequences, it simply ignores the present and focuses entirely on the past.

A friend teases of you something that you did ten years ago, which no-one (other than your friend) ever found out about, and which has no bearing on you today. You might respond with, 'I am aware of what I did'. In other words, I remember what happened, but it is not relevant now.'

Example 2. Present perfect - used when talking about an action in the past that continues to have on-going effects or consequences in the present, ie this tense indicates that there is a link between an action in the past and the present.

You are playing around at your home and accidentally break you mother's favourite vase. Several hours later your father comes home, sees what has happened, and says, 'Your mother will be distraught when she sees this, that was a gift from her grandmother'. You might respond with, 'I am aware of what I have done'. In other words, I know that I broke the vase, and and there will be on-going consequences in the present (and possibly into the future).

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