I want to ask you what is the difference between these two sentences:

She has seen the real meaning in these messages

She saw the real meaning in these messages

And to know if both of them are grammatically correct. I know that saw is standalone word and seen is used alongside has, had, have etc. But what’s the difference between these two?

  • 1
    The first is the present perfect - an event that began in the past but is still relevant now. Maybe it happened recently. The second is the past simple - an event that happened in the past and is now complete. The difference is subtle when referring to life experiences because everything that a person experiences is still relevant while they continue to live. – Bruce Murray Jun 15 '20 at 15:29
  • American English often uses the past simple where British English uses the present perfect. – anouk Jun 15 '20 at 16:28

Both of your sentences are grammatically correct.

Now, let's go back to their difference in meaning.

She has seen the real meaning in these messages. ( This could mean that She has just seen .... , or she has seen at some indefinite time during the day/week, etc. );

She saw the real meaning in these messages. ( - implies a terminated period of time, some earlier period during the day/week/ month, etc. );

Moreover, an example with the phrase "over the course of time" would make the things clear.


The difference has constantly been changing over (the) course of time. ( indefinite frequency - it might have changed by this moment - recently );

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