I am writing a diary to improve my English. I write it describing the situation at the end of the day. My grandmother arrived home yesterday.

How should I describe this?

My grandmother returned home.


My grandmother has returned home.

Are both correct?

  • 2
    There is no way to answer this question. In most English sentences you can change the tense and the sentence is still grammatical, but with a slightly different meaning. So the only answer is "both" (except for the spelling mistake in the first one)
    – James K
    Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 21:39
  • Are you writing the diary as a narrative of events (I went swimming in the morning. Grandmother returned home in the afternoon.) or as a description of your situation at the end of the day (I have been swimming today. Grandmother has returned home.)? Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 10:00
  • At the end of the day Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 14:27
  • Thank you ColleenV!! This was helpful Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


Both are correct, but they have different meanings.

"My grandmother returned home" merely means that she returned in the past.

"My grandmother has returned home" means she returned in particular reference to the present.

"My grandmother had returned home" means that at some point in the past, she had returned in that past of that point.

Thus, you might write,

I went to school yesterday. My grandmother returned home while I was out. When I came back, my mother was preparing dinner to celebrate.

which just lists them as a sequence of events, in the past from the point of writing,

When I came back from school, my grandmother had returned home, and my mother was preparing a dinner to celebrate.

because the reference point for the return was your coming back from school, or

My mother said, "I'm making a dinner in celebration because your grandmother has returned home"

because the reference point is when she is speaking, which was the current time at the point she had spoke.

Since a diary is recounting past events, you would not use "has returned" except in reporting what people said or wrote, or discussing your current writing such as

I am writing this entry late because my grandmother has returned.


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