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We use the present perfect tense to address something that happened in the past, but we don't specify precisely when it happened. We also use present perfect to suggest some kind of connection between what happened in the past and the present time. Does every present perfect sentence have some kind of connection between what happened in the past and the present time? If so, what connections can be drawn in these sentences?

  • I have seen that movie.
  • You have said that.
  • I have visited China.
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"I have seen that movie" and "I have visited China" are normally understood as instances of experiential perfect: you are now one of the small number of people who have watched that movie and visited China.

"You have said that" could be understood as a resultative perfect: your saying that has some apparent result at the moment of utterance. Perhaps what you've just said is actually happening right now.

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Sometimes the subject (you, as speaker, or a person spoken to) is the connection between past and present, through the continuity of their consciousness and being:

I have been to that restaurant. It was quite long ago, however, and there has been a change of ownership since then.

You are the connection between past and present (your experience) in I have been. With there has been, the connection between past and present is the interval between your visit and now ("since then"), during which a change of ownership took place.

Have you tried that coffee shop?

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