(...) I think I can safely say that, until this year, all of those holidays were wonderful. For example I have once spent six weeks on Crete, which I had not visited before.

My task is to find errors and the boldened sentence is supposed to be corrected to Past Simple. I don’t quite understand why. It is unknown and unimportant when those holidays took place.

  • it also says:" all of those holidays were wonderful." Past tense. – anouk Jul 26 at 17:39

The answer is that we generally use past simple when we give a time reference or use an adverb such as once or twice to say how often something happened.

In your example, once is used to mean on one occasion in the past. We say ** I once did something** - NOT I have once done something.

I once climbed the mountain that lies before us.
I twice saw him enter and leave the house that day.

If I were writing the sentence, I would prefer all those holidays have been wonderful as one is talking about everything up to the present year in the sense of until now.

Others might well prefer the past tense. In cases like this the choice between present perfect and past simple is really a matter of personal preference.

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