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I'm studying English, and I have a problem with present perfect. One of the rules of this tense says that "This tense is used to talk about an action that happened in the past but has it's result now" and "A past action that remains in present"

Ok I can understand the second one but the first one that says about the result is pretty wierd, because every past action has it's result no matter what, if it's result that remains now or little bit further.

The main problem with this tense is when I don't have time reference (since,for etc.)

I've found in forums that it can emphasize the present and the past simple can emphasize the past action but that's incorrect.

Of course there can be some context but to give some informations it must be clear to understand. So it's wierd for me that it can be that difficult to understand.

Here are some examples to show what I understand, if you can add something it would be nice.

  • Tony has done his part of job (he did his job and nowe we can use it)
  • Tony did his part of job (he did his job, that's all even when now we can use it we just inform that he did his job)

  • He has stolen my watch !!! Catch him ! (he stole the watch, and he still has it so the action of stealling is still ongoing)

  • He stole my watch !!! Catch him (he stole the watch, maybe he ran away, and he is doing with this watch something else, and now the guy who said that doesn't have the watch now)

  • I have reinforced the wall (he reinforced the wall, even now)

  • I reinforced the wall (he informs that he reinforced the wall but who know what is going on now with this reinforce)

I always have this question like. Why ..... why the autor use this tense.

Of course here is the link I've found some information, if somebody is curious where is this "result" topic [14:53 time] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQ190KHbgPQ

Thanks for any comment and help. I'm looking for any advice !

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every past action has it's result no matter what, if it's result that remains now or little bit further

No. Some actions have a result in the present, and some don't. To use one of your examples:

He has stolen my watch !!! Catch him ! (he stole the watch, and he still has it so the action of stealling is still ongoing)

correct.

He stole my watch !!! Catch him (he stole the watch, maybe he ran away, and he is doing with this watch something else, and now the guy who said that doesn't have the watch now)

correct, but compare with:

He stole my watch but he has given it back.

The watch is no longer stolen. Steal is a completed action in the past. Giving back is a past action continuing in the present.

Last year he stole my watch but he gave it back six weeks ago. I have sold it.

Two completed actions, at different points in time. One past action continuing in the present.

Sometimes an action can be past simple or present perfect. If we want to emphasise it happened in the past, we use past simple. If we want to emphasise the result in teh present, we use present perfect.

I broke my leg and I'm on crutches

I have broken my leg and I'm on crutches.

  • What do you think about the rest of examples ? And I want to ask you something about continuing, When we have "Last year he stole my watch but he gave it back six weeks ago. I have sold it" so the selling procces that started in the past is still continuing in the present or we take it as a present result as I sold it out I don't have it anymore. And how should I interpretate some books when there is a present perfect or past simple ? Some characters see the action but they use past simple, And that bothers me so much – user331990 Jul 27 '19 at 17:39
  • "I have sold it" is Pres Perfect because it is the reason I don't have the watch any more, and it suggests that I sold it fairly recently (more recently than Past Simple). "I have broken my watch so I sold it" doesn't make sense because the "have broken" happened before (distant past) the "sold" (recent past" action. "I broke my watch, so I have sold it" shows the difference between distant past single action "broke" and recent past action" have sold" which is related to the present. "I broke my watch so I sold it" suggests both actions were distant past and the "sold" wasn't recent. – Owain Jul 27 '19 at 20:08
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I will try to explain as simple as possible. It is all about focus. If you say: "He has stolen my watch!", the focus is on the fact that you don't have a watch in the present ( present result), because it was stolen in the past, even if the past is five minutes ago. If an expression of time is added, for example "this morning", or "an hour ago" you always use past simple. If you say "He stole my watch" the focus is on the act of stealing that took place in the past and not so much on the present result. To add to the confusion in American English the simple past is often used where the present perfect is used in British English, so it is possible Americans will say " He stole my watch!". In this case the present result is also that you have no watch now.

  • I often see in books, movies, serials. That past simple is often used without time reference. I want to learn how to use properly while using in conversation or in writing (article, message or even book if I'll be able to). In my language it's pretty hard to get it because this tense is based in context and raw rules doesn't tell so much, how many forums I ask there are many different answears. – user331990 Jul 27 '19 at 17:47
  • Yes, but a language is flexible. Stick to the basic rules listed above and keep practicing, you will get better with time, trust me, I am speaking from experience! – anouk Jul 28 '19 at 18:01

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