What is the difference in meaning between the following sentences:

  1. living cost has increased every year.
  2. living cost increases every year.
  • living cost is not the right term. We say: the cost of living.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 5:45

1 Answer 1


As is often the case, there is no difference in the objective circumstances described by the two sentences. The difference is in how the speaker is choosing to structure events in time.

"Has increased" says that the speaker is referring to a period of several years in the past and up to the present. It says nothing about what may happen in the future.

"Increases" is referring to a process that is over some period including the present. It is not specifically referring to the past, but conceives the relevant period as timeless, stretching past and forward.

In this case, there is little practical difference, since we can't predict the future, so "increases" must literally be talking about only the past. But there is a difference in how the speaker is choosing to present the events.

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