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I have some problems with Present Perfect tenses. I often see in movies or in books where 2 characters are talking about situation that take place right now. When they see the result, instead of using present perfect, they use past simple. Even when they see the result they use past simpel tense.

For example :

I have a plenty of time ----------- I have got a plenty of time.

Of course we can add "now or tommorow to indicate which time to use, but what if there aren't any additional times that indicate which one to use ?

Next example:

This city has been occupied so be carefull ----------- This city was occupied so be carefull.

New gadget has been annouced ----------------- New gadget was annouced

I don't know how should I know which one to use (if there is no time emphasized) Somebody can say that Present Perfect is about past action but we see the result right now, but I often see that people describe past action with past simple tense but they still see the result of that action. It's pretty the same when we talk about Present simple. I just don't get it.

Thanks for any answer and help.

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  • I am not sure what "writing an email" or "talking to your friends" has to do with anything, unless you are asking if different constructions are more used in different situations (i.e. formal or informal)...your examples are all over the place, and not helping us to figure out what you are looking for. – Cascabel Jun 21 at 20:45
  • There are grammar or spelling issues with all your sentences that don't include the verb tense. – Jason Bassford Jun 22 at 2:51
  • I'll change it soon, but the point is that I don't understand this "present result" that present perfect is using. I often see in movies when 2 characters are talking about something that happened and they see the result, but instead of using present perfect, they use past simple. I think the edit will clarify what I'm looking for. – user331990 Jun 22 at 10:32
  • You seem to be assuming that everyone should always speak perfectly and grammatically, but they don't. Americans have the tendency to use past tense instead of the present perfect construction. So asking about the usage in movie scripts will not be very productive. – Cascabel Jun 22 at 20:42
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It doesn't really matter whether you're writing an email or talking to friends, because the usage of these tenses only depends on the timing of the event's occurrence and not your medium, level of formality, or audience.

If something has just happened, and you're discussing the consequence of that (or the result is ongoing, as you've referenced in your question), the present perfect tense would be appropriate. However, if you're referring to something that happened a long time ago and are not discussing anything that is currently an immediate consequence of it, you would use the simple past tense.

Using one of your examples:

"The city has been occupied, so be careful."
You might say this to a friend who's planning to enter a city that's just been occupied and is experiencing the after-effects of it.

"The city was occupied by the French, so you will see some of their cultural influences."
You would use this tense when telling someone about the history of a city.

Using much simpler examples:

"There was an apple in the fridge this morning. Where did it go?"
"I ate it."
You use the simple past to state a fact, or an act, that took place in the past and is now finished.

"Let's take a long drive!"
"I have just eaten an apple. I don't want to get carsick, so can we wait a little longer?"
You use the present perfect to talk about an action that has recently been completed, with ongoing consequences in the present or near future.

This is a simplistic view, but I hope it helps clarify your doubts.

  • (quote)You use the simple past to state a fact, or an act, that took place in the past and is now finished. And You use the present perfect to talk about an action that has recently been completed, with ongoing consequences in the present or near future.(quote) I see that both of them ends recently so I could say I've eaten it or I ate it because both of them ends recently .And I thought that we use present perffect when we talk about historical facts that has some results. – user331990 Jun 22 at 11:07
  • @user331990 Yes! You're right. The results you mention would be the consequences I referred to. – karish10 Jun 23 at 7:54
  • So if I say that the city has been destroyed (the cosequence is that the city is messed up) But if I say The city was destroyed (then it means that it happened maybe there are some consequences but we focus on finished action) Am I right ? – user331990 Jun 26 at 22:37

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