Daddy Pig says:"This is the tent I had when I was a little boy." If he said :"This is the tent I have had since I was a little boy". Are there any subtle differences between the two expressions? context


  • If it was said like "this is the tent I have had since I was a little boy" (or perhaps "this is the tent I have owned since I was a little boy", to remove the repeated use of "have") would it make sense to your understanding of tenses? To say "I have when I was" is creating a disagreement between the present "have" (with no statement about when the start was) and past "when I was" (with a defined start). To say "have had since" describes a past start to something that is still happening – Caius Jard Mar 3 at 14:03
  • It's probably a child's tent: a small one, for playing in. When he was a boy, Daddy pig might have called it his tent. In my house there is a doll that was my daughter's when she was young. Even if it's in my hand I still call it hers, not mine. – Old Brixtonian Mar 3 at 14:03
  • "This is the tent I've had since I was a little boy" as Caius says. Or "This was my tent when I was a little boy" (the latter a special logic-challenging usage used just in this sort of situation, meaning 'It's still my property, but I don't still regard it as my plaything, and [probably] I'd really like to see someone else play in it'. As Old Brixtonian implies. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 3 at 14:20
  • @Caius Jard In the context if "this is the tent I have had since I was a little boy" would be proper? – fei Mar 3 at 14:33
  • That he had it then doesn't mean he doesn't still have it. I'm surprised this question hasn't been shuttled to ELL already. – Robusto Mar 3 at 14:45

When I was a little boy is a period which is wholly in the past, so it requires a past-tense verb.

If it were since I was a little boy, that is a period which continues to the present, and so a non-past verb is appropriate.

  • 1
    uv, of course. I often wonder why answers like these don't receive all the upvotes. People go on and on about very little. I also wonder why those such as yourself do not step in on other questions that are similarly obvious and help to stop the flow of useless comments. Did you see exercise as in: Swimming is a good exercise? I tried my best but it was nigh impossible....Of course, the man is no longer a little boy. – Lambie Mar 3 at 17:04

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