I am confused about these two dialogues where Tom wants to borrow a big amount of money from Jim who is a very stingy person. Tom is talking to Steve about it. Tom, Jim, and Steve are very close friends who know each other very well.

Dialogue 1:
Tom: I will ask Jim to lend me $10,000.
Steve: What! Did you just meet Jim?

Dialogue 2:
Tom: I will ask Jim to lend me $10,000.
Steve: What! Have you just met Jim?

I am confused because according to what I know #2 is the correct dialogue, however, I heard #1 dialogue from a native American.

In the everyday language:

I know the general difference between the simple past which usually is used for events that started and ended in the past and the present perfect which is usually used for the event that started in the past but still going on the present or relates to it. However, sometimes I cannot see the difference, especially in informal English. So:

Is there any difference between the meaning of the two dialogues above? or they just simply mean the same thing?

  • 1
    Steve's line in this dialogue confuses me because Tom is planning to ask Jim in the future ("will"), but Steve assumes this means he has recently met him. I don't see a connection between the two.
    – gotube
    May 23, 2021 at 5:01
  • @gotube Steve means Jim is very stingy and they (Tom and Steve) know it very well because the three of them are very close friends and Tom is supposed to know that Jim is stingy not like a person who just met or knew him recently and might not know about Jim stinginess.
    – Shadi
    May 23, 2021 at 7:49
  • In that case Steve should say "Have you only just met Jim?" May 23, 2021 at 8:20
  • @KateBunting But I heard dialogue #1 from a native American and this is why I am confused.
    – Shadi
    May 23, 2021 at 15:53
  • Well, I'm British, so that's why it sounds odd to me. May 23, 2021 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


Present perfect has several functions, including a past event that relates to present. In this case, meeting Jim relates to the present because Tom should know that Jim is stingy.

For this function, Americans tend to use simple past where the rest of the English speaking world prefers present perfect, so it's a regional thing.

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