I suppose that the sentence:

I've won the lottery. This is the second time this happened.

isn't correct - it must be:

I've won the lottery. This is the second time this has happened.

But what is the reason for that?

Is it because the present tense in the beginning "This is the second time" determines the present perfect tense in the ending "this has happened"?

Or is it because we just have to use the present perfect in this context?

  • 1
    I'm not sure I can fully justify it as "invalid" on syntactic grounds, but I think your first example is at the very least "substandard / awkward". If you're going to use Simple Past happened rather than Present Perfect has happened, I think it should be preceded by Simple Past This was the second time... But the example somewhat confuses the context by starting the entire utterance with Present Perfect I've [I have] won Feb 27, 2019 at 13:35
  • I suppose it's natural to use the present perfect if I'm telling my friend about winning the lottery. But I'm not sure about the correct tense for the verb happen in the second sentence. The usage of the present perfect is quite intricate. I don't want to imply recency and I don't mean any present result when I'm saying "this happened" - the message I want to convey is "the second time" - so what tense do I need to use for the verb happen?
    – embedc
    Feb 28, 2019 at 10:01
  • 1
    It's not "unnatural" to use Present Perfect to tell your friend about winning the lottery, but in practice it's almost certainly less likely than Simple Past I won the lottery! as the initial utterance in a conversation. Whereas it might actually be more likely as a response - for example, if your friend had started the conversation by asking What are you looking so excited about? (because that initial utterance automatically puts the conversational focus on "present moment / time of utterance"). Feb 28, 2019 at 13:50

2 Answers 2


This sentence

"I won the lottery! This was the second time this happened."

is correct and more common than this one

"I've won the lottery. This is the second time this has happened."

  • As a reminder, Stack Exchange answers are expected to explain, and not merely to state. Please edit the post to describe why it is correct, and demonstrate that it is more common.
    – choster
    Feb 28, 2019 at 15:15

The correct sentence is:

I've won the lottery. This is the second time this has happened.

Your use of the present perfect earlier in the sentence, in "I've won," indicates that the event has happened recently. To be consistent with this, you have to use the present perfect in the second part of the sentence, as well.



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