I wonder if in this context pr. simple and pr. perfect simple are interchangeable:

  1. He has played the saxophone every night.
  2. He plays the saxophone every night.

If they aren't interchangeable, could you explain me, what's the difference between the information they give us?

3 Answers 3


As with most choices of tense in English, the difference is mainly how the speaker is choosing to focus the statement temporally. There may also be implications of one but not the other.

He plays the saxophone every night.

does not focus the statement in time: it is talking about something that has happened in the past, and the present, and may be expected to continue into the future; but it does not set a focus.

He has played the saxophone every night.

is talking about a period from the past up to the present, and setting the focus to the present. It does not exclude the possibility that the behaviour might continue into the future, but it does not discuss it, because the temporal focus is looking backward from the present.

  • 4
    Re "has played" I would go a bit further. Because you deliberately stop the action (playing the sax) in the present, there is at least a mild implication that the future of the activity is in question. Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 20:46

If you say: "he plays the saxophone every night" it means this is a regular habit, it is a normal part of his life.

"He has played the saxophone every night", means for a period of time from the past to the present.

If "playing the saxophone every night" is a new or temporary habit, you can say: "he has been playing the saxophone every night lately". Meaning it is not a regular habit.


I think these two tenses are not interchangeable at all in any context.

He plays the saxophone every night.

This is something that he does habitually every night. Every night, he takes his saxophone and plays it.

He has played the saxophone every night.

With this sentence, I'm thinking that he started playing the saxophone at some point in the past (let's say when he was a kid) and has been doing that ever since every night up to the present. We can even add that additional time information into the sentence.

He has played the saxophone every night since his childhood.

In most cases, with sentences like this one, it would be only natural to almost always add some additional time information into the sentence to qualify since what time the action we're speaking about has been happening.

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