Life started in a simple organisms .

Can has started can be used instead of started? Then how are the meanings different? Because life is still going on, can i use present perfect?

1 Answer 1


No. “Has started” can only be used for the recent past. Life started many years ago, so the present perfect tense is inappropriate here. Even if life still exists now, you’re only talking about when it started, which was long ago in the past, so you should use the simple past tense.

  • Then, how about this "Humans have survived in this planet for a long time " Despite its long time distance, "has survived" does not sound awkward to me. What factor is different? Apr 1, 2019 at 0:21
  • on this planet, not in this planet. Also- organism (no “s”). But good point about the recent past- this is not always the rule. “Have survived” is fine because the “surviving” started at one point in the past and continues to this day. “Started” is not something that can continue over a long period of time- the “starting” happened in the past and that was it.
    – Mixolydian
    Apr 1, 2019 at 0:25
  • Wow so clear to me! Can i ask one more? "This week a new semester started/has started in most schools " In this recent case, then, past and present perfect are interchangeable or have different meanings? Apr 1, 2019 at 0:29
  • Yes, in this case you're talking about the recent past ("this week") so either the present perfect or simple past would be appropriate. The meaning is the same.
    – Mixolydian
    Apr 1, 2019 at 2:13
  • @Mixolydian Can you provide a reference for present perfect being appropriate only for the recent past?
    – nasch
    Apr 1, 2019 at 3:13

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