As I understand it, Past Simple (the second sentence) is possible here only as the simplest version of Present Perfect (the third sentence), isn't it? But why is Present Perfect more common here than Present Simple?


now I decide

In general, "decide" is used often than "have decided", but not with a phrase "now I...".

I didn’t use to go jogging, but now I decide to start.

I didn’t use to go jogging, but now I decided to start.

I didn’t use to go jogging, but now I have decided to start.

1 Answer 1


In an ordinary context, where a person is speaking about a decision which has already been made, but is still valid, the present perfect is the right one. The decision happened before now, so past simple is not appropriate. If the decision is ongoing, that is, you haven't finished deciding yet, you would use present continuous, not present simple.

In those contexts, if I read or heard the past simple or present simple, I would think, "oh, they must have meant to use the past perfect".

In the context of telling a story, past simple or present simple are used to say that the decision happened at the point in time being described in the story. This is more common in literary contexts.

It's possible you found many examples of the storytelling contexts in written works because we often use written works to tell stories.

You seem to ask if past simple is a simpler form of present perfect, if I understand you correctly. If so: no, while in some contexts they might mean very similar things, in general they have different meanings and uses, you can't simply replace one with the other.

  • In addition to your answer, there is an usage of "now" from the Cambridge dictionary: "Now (adverb) (IN SPEECH) used in statements and questions to introduce or give emphasis to what you are saying: Now, where did I put my hat? There was a knock at the door. Now Jan knew her mother had promised to come by, so she assumed it was her.” "
    – Sergei
    Apr 28, 2021 at 12:35
  • So, it seems that the use of Past Simple also is possible orr this usage isn't appropriate here?
    – Sergei
    Apr 28, 2021 at 12:41
  • 1
    @Sergey As always, what you use depends on what you want to say. If you are writing a story, something like: "I walked down the stairs and put on jogging shoes. I didn't use to go jogging, but now I decided to start." might work. Notice that that story is consistently in the past simple, and "now" is used to mean "at that time", not "now as I tell the story". This is not the ordinary everyday use of language, though, and is a different context from: "Hi, how are you? Do you sell jogging shoes? I didn't use to go jogging, but now I have decided to start."
    – Dan Getz
    Apr 29, 2021 at 11:39
  • 1
    Though "but I had decided" would be more normal and straightforward in the story example. "but now I decided" would be a word choice made by the author for poetic reasons.
    – Dan Getz
    Apr 29, 2021 at 11:51

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