In Oscar a 1991 American slapstick crime comedy film directed by John Landis, I heard: "Your father just told me".

Why do not correct to say "Your father has just told me."?

Because in "How English Works" page 172, 16:

They (just discover) a new fuel - it's half the price of petrol and much cleaner.

The correct answer is by the book:

They have just discovered a new fuel - it's half the price of petrol and much cleaner.

Is there any connection with the fact that the book "How English Works" is by Oxford University Press UK, but the movie is by Hollywood in the USA?

  • 5
    Why do you think that it is not correct? Both are perfectly good.
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 29, 2019 at 23:08
  • @ColinFine if so why in authors of the book did not give both possibilities correct?
    – b2ok
    Mar 29, 2019 at 23:53
  • Because authors of books like that often have Opinions.
    – SamBC
    Mar 30, 2019 at 0:27
  • 2
    There is an element of British vs US English: when I was growing up, the simple past with "just" was must less common in British English than US English. To my (British) ears "I just saw him" or "I just did it" sounded strange and American. But in this particular respect the two varieties have moved closer in the last sixty years, and both forms are used in BrEng (as I believe they always were in USEng).
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 30, 2019 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


If something has just happened it means that it happened in that exact moment, with that being said, if the phrase is "Your father has just told me" it would mean that it happened a second before the speaker learned about that "something" he's talking about.

Your father just told me that would mean that the speaker learned about it a few minutes earlier not precisely at that exact same moment. The difference is really subtle. I struggle with this myself sometimes, but that's the difference. if something has just happened then it happened at that exact moment. It indicates a more immediate past.

  • 4
    To be more precise, "just told me" can include just this moment, and also slightly longer ago. "Has just told me" more strongly implies immediacy. Then there's "just now told me", which also indicates immediacy. English is full of little wrinkles, isn't it?
    – SamBC
    Mar 29, 2019 at 23:46
  • I hear weird sentences like that all day. Today I heard "As least as possible" from some Joe Schmoe who walked into my job looking for the least expensive product for sale. Saying "Job" for your workplace is just another one of those things.
    – Kaique
    Mar 29, 2019 at 23:52
  • 1
    To walk into a job, in my experience, means to get a job without effort...
    – SamBC
    Mar 30, 2019 at 0:26
  • Not in Boston apparently. A job is a physical place.
    – Kaique
    Mar 30, 2019 at 0:34
  • 1
    It is not true that has just necessarily describes a second before [the moment of speaking]. A: It's raining. B: Oh no. And of course I've just washed the car. It's quite unlikely the act occurred a second before B spoke. Mar 30, 2019 at 5:53

I found in a book strongly this rule: The difference between the Britain English and the American

English is:

he has just told = Britain English

he just told = American English.


While the correct construction requires has just told me, native English speakers frequently omit the has from such sentences.

Whether the present perfect tense or the past tense is used, the meaning is identical.

So you will hear people say things like:

he just left
he just walked past
he just threw it away

Such omissions, generally found in the spoken language and informal writing, are common shortcuts. It's just the way people speak.

Has just told me and just told me mean exactly the same thing, whether they refer to a statement that was made a minute, an hour or a day ago.

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