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I have made up the similar examples below.

(1) Over the past three days, I have not been able to sleep well. When I have gone to bed late at night, I have heard a spooky sound from the outside. Then, I have felt my bedroom shaking slightly. I have been scared. (You think the strange activity might end today.)

(2) Over the past three days, I have not been able to sleep well. When I go to bed late at night, I hear a spooky sound from the outside. Then, I feel my bedroom shaking slightly. I am scared. (You are expecting the activity to continue repeatedly for a while.)

Most of my friends think both versions are correct depending on how you interpret them. Most of my friends think (1) is grammatically correct. There is no question about it. (2) is also correct when the event seems to be ongoing. In addition, you are expecting it to continue in the foreseeable future. What is your opinion?

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One of the ways that the present perfect is used is to describe actions in the recent past. Thus, version 1 is grammatical. But it is not particularly idiomatic in modern American English.

Version 2 is more idiomatic when you are implying an expectation that it will continue. You have already established in the first sentence that you are discussing events in the recent past, and the shift in the tense in the later sentences implies that the other events were both contemporaneous with the initial event and an expectation that all of them probably will continue.

If you expected them to cease, you would use the past tense.

Over the past three days I did not sleep well....

Now you are definitely placing the events in the past.

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  • I like your clear and detailed explanation. You have helped improve my understanding of this grammar issue. Thank you very much for your time and help.
    – ansonman
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 21:16

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