By the age of two or three, the infant has reached toddler stage. In terms of cognitive development, this means, he has learned to play make-believe games and uses his imagination more.

In the bolded sentence, the author has used two tenses the present perfect and the present. Could you explain this please? What does each tense mean?

3 Answers 3


"has learned" is something that has happened over time, from birth (past) to the age of two or three (now). Something that started in the past and continuous into the present = present perfect. From the age of two or three (now) the child uses its imagination more = present tense.


The author describes events using two Present tenses for his/her narrative, it's a possible style of telling a story:


A reader is taken to a moment in the past (the infant's 'age of two or three') and is suggested to imagine that moment as 'now'. So the Present Perfect here points at an action completed by that moment (the infant already has the knowledge necessary for the mentioned games) and the Present simple describes another action which happened then (uses his imagination).


Firstly, it is crystal clear that the first sentence is in the form of present perfect, and the second, present indefinite tense.

The sentence you gave make sense together to create a logical sequence of events. And it is grammatical if we switch tenses, when there is time change for the actions (even we do so in formal, historical writing as well).

Thus, in your sentence the logical sequence is: present perfect > present indefinite. Look at the quoted version:

  • He has learned to play make-believe games [present perfect] and uses his imagination more [present indefinite].

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