I know that the Present Perfect is used for events which:

  • occurred in an imprecise point of the past and
  • are "connected with the present".

However, this last definition seems vague and subjective to me.

For instance, it is clear to me that I could say:

  • I have never seen this movie.
  • As a child, I never saw this movie.

But what about:

As a child, I never saw/have seen this movie, and I still feel sad for that.

This past event obviously affects the present. Is "as a child" a precise enough point of time to always trigger the Past Simple?

  • 1
    No. That would only make sense if you are still a child. Oct 5 '19 at 16:51
  • It is really hard to me to assert when the Present Perfect is used in English. The two criterias I presented in my question seemed clear, but it seems that the second one (the past event must be connected with the present) is not always valid, as suffering in the present from a past event is a strong connection and nevertheless the Present Perfect in my last example is wrong. Oct 5 '19 at 17:37

As a child, I never saw/ have seen this movie, and still feel sad for that

This sentence means that you are no longer a child. so present perfect does not work here. If you are still a child it works.

So the correct answer is:

As a child ,I never saw the movie, and still feel sad for that

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.