A tutorial says

we say that the manager told us more. That means you already knew something about this plan.

It seems better to use present perfect tense here.

... That means you've already known something about this plan.

I understand people can't care about the grammar too much while they are speaking. I'd just like to know if my understanding about that grammar is right.

So, is it better to use present perfect tense there?

  • 2
    Past tense and present perfect are both correct but have different meanings. However, it should be "you've already known", not "you've already knew".
    – user178049
    May 26, 2020 at 0:59
  • @user178049 Thank you. What's the difference in meaning between past tense and present perfect in this particular situation?
    – PutBere
    May 26, 2020 at 3:07
  • There isn't much difference at all in this particular context. Simply a very subtle nuance. Already knew points to having knowledge at a random point of time in the past. Already known suggests having had the knowledge for a longer period of time. But that's very subtle, and not even necessarily true. May 26, 2020 at 3:46
  • I will say that already knew seems more common and idiomatic to me—it's more simple and direct. Not that the other is wrong in any way. May 26, 2020 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


The reason "you already knew" is correct, is that the sentence example, "The manager told us more about the New Year's party", is past tense, and when the tutor explains that it means "you already knew", he's talking about what your state of knowledge was at the time you were told.

If the tutor said "you've already known", then the focus (present perfect) is on your current state - even though of course it includes a continuous state of knowledge from before being told, continuing all the way until now. Because he's talking about a point in the past, it would sound a little unnatural here.

However, the tutor could definitely have said "That means, you had already known something about this plan" (past perfect, instead of present perfect), which keeps the focus on the point in the past (when you were told something "more"). That would be completely natural, and could probably be argued to be more correct - but in practice it's unnecessary here. It emphasizes that the speaker had a continuing state of knowledge... but that information isn't really important, and is somewhat implied by the word "already".

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