SB: Kiam, you're a workhorse. I eat breakfast at 9:00, and you've already put in two hours of work. KL: Oh, I've had breakfast at 9:00. But it was always because I got so absorbed in my work I forgot to eat.

In this case could KL have answered "Oh, I have breakfast at 9.00"as it seems to be a habit .In term of meaning what does bring the use of present perfect(up to now I have taken breakfast at 9 but that habit can change)

1 Answer 1


I think KL means "I've sometimes had breakfast at 9.00, but only when I got so absorbed..."

He's not using the Present Perfect to mean "up to now" but, as defined here, "for something that happened in the past but is important in the present." The speaker would stress the word "had": "I've had breakfast at 9.00..."

If he wanted to say he habitually had breakfast at 9.00 he would say, "Oh, I have breakfast at 9.00", as you suggest, and would stress the "I".

  • I think I don't get the difference between both versions Btw I thought that "sometimes" was followed by present not present perfect .Does present perfect mean it is not a "regular" thing and has only happened in a very few cases. In this example it means that KL did not take it because he was so absorbed ; he is talking only about today in the second part of the sentence
    – Yves Lefol
    Aug 21, 2021 at 11:21
  • 'Sometimes' is an adverb. Adverbs have no effect on the tense. These are all good: I had sometimes eaten, I have sometimes eaten, I sometimes ate, I was sometimes eating, I sometimes eat, I will sometimes eat... Please visit the link in my last message and read the whole page. It explains the different uses of the present perfect. And please read my answer. KL has sometimes had breakfast at 9.00. Aug 21, 2021 at 13:49
  • yes he has sometimes had breakfast at 9 but not today
    – Yves Lefol
    Aug 21, 2021 at 16:46
  • That's right. Exactly. Aug 21, 2021 at 16:54
  • And he seems to be saying he sometimes forgets to eat earlier than 9.00. So then he has to eat at 9.00. I think he makes SB feel very lazy! Aug 21, 2021 at 17:12

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