Following sentences,

Sorry for the late reply, I was away for the weekend, I saw you had already placed another order so I owe you the extra 7€ you spent for the shipping, let me know if you want a refund


The Flesh of the city LP is £11, plus £1 extra (as you have paid postage on the others too)

both were said by the natives.

Why the first sentence is in simple past and the second is in present perfect? For me both are similar cases. The only difference that can explain present perfect is that the postage is on a new "future order" in the second case, whereas in the first one it is not on a new order. That is the only difference I see.

2 Answers 2


It's personal style. In both cases, there is no grammar rule preventing you from using either the simple past or the present perfect.

... so I owe you the extra 7€ you have spent for the shipping

... plus £1 extra as you paid postage on the others

The present perfect helps relate the action to the present moment. In most cases there is not much of a difference between these. Example:

I have shipped the item you ordered, so it should be on its way. (= as of this current moment, the item has been sent)

I shipped the item your ordered ... (= I sent it in the past)


Sometimes both present perfect and past simple are possible, like in your examples. If a specific time or date when something happened is mentioned, you can't use present perfect. British English uses present perfect more often than American English.

  • "If a specific time or date when something happened is mentioned, you can't use present perfect." Really? I am pretty sure I have heard native speakers produce that combination. Dec 24, 2018 at 20:26
  • natives can do things learners cannot.
    – anouk
    Dec 24, 2018 at 20:40
  • What do you mean by that? Dec 24, 2018 at 20:42
  • Natives can bend grammar rules, but it is different for learners. If you want to learn a new language you have to know the rules and abide by them in order to speak the language properly.
    – anouk
    Dec 24, 2018 at 21:21
  • 1
    Grammar rules are only an approximation of what native speakers produce. There is no correct grammar in that absolute sense and emulating native speaker behaviour is the final goal anyway. Why then stick to basically made up rules that do not correspond with reality? Makes no sense. Dec 24, 2018 at 21:28

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