2

When it is a statement about a habit, a regular event, or things like that, what tense do we use in a noun clause: simple past or present perfect?

1

Whenever I go out, I have to check multiple times whether I have locked the door or not.

2

Whenever I go out, I have to check multiple times whether I locked the door or not.

In my view:

Using simple past here is weird because it sounds like a specific event that happened in the past.

Using present perfect is ok to my ears, but I don't know why.

Can you tell me why?

3
  • 2
    As a British English speaker, I would always use your first version. May 11 '21 at 7:58
  • @KateBunting Do you have a reason or mindset for your choice? Like, why do you not use the second version (past tense)? Is it because the past tense version sounds like a specific event to you? Sorry for asking so many questions. I also prefer the first version, but I don't know why because I didn't grow up in an English-speaking environment.
    – vincentlin
    May 11 '21 at 9:24
  • 1
    I would use the present perfect for a recent action which affects the present situation. I hesitate to be too prescriptive about this because I know it isn't necessarily the same for Americans; they may say "Did you have lunch?" when I would say "Have you had lunch?" (speaking in the early afternoon). So, yes - "I locked the door" sounds to me like a single action in the past. May 11 '21 at 9:38
0

i would say “ Whenever I go out, I have to check multiple times whether I locked the door or not.” or “Whenever I go out, I have to check multiple times if I locked the door or not.”

3
  • Thank you for your answer. Are (1) and (2) both acceptable? I was told that Americans and British people have different opinions.
    – vincentlin
    May 17 '21 at 10:56
  • 1
    @vincentlin no problem! i’m american and honestly either way is fine. sentence 2 just sounds more natural and fluid to me, but both are all good :)
    – user136000
    May 18 '21 at 0:28
  • 1
    I'm British and 2) sounds odd verging on wrong to me, so whoever said that there was a difference was right.
    – A. B.
    May 19 '21 at 4:56

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