(1) Joan walked out and has left her bag

It seems that (1) is not good because it violates a tense agreement rule. Is that right? Then, I am wondering what differences there exist between sentence (1) above and sentence (2) below.

(2) Tom moved to New York five years ago and has lived there since then.

  • It's not just a matter of saying your "Joan" example violates tense agreement. The reason the "Tom" example works is because Present Perfect has lived there specifically refers to the entire time between Tom moving to NY and the present time of speaking (something that started in the past has continued until now). But in the "Joan" example, she only left her bag behind once (at the same time as leaving) - there's no sense of continuing to leave the bag, right up until time of speaking. Oct 9 '21 at 16:01
  • ...for a more "borderline" case, consider John caught Covid and was / has been admitted to hospital. Where the Present Perfect version pragmatically entails that John must currently still be in hospital, but with the Simple Past version he might have recovered and been discharged (or he might even have died by the time of speaking; it's "agnostic" on that score). Oct 9 '21 at 16:10
  • @FumbleFingers Present perfect can refer to finished single events in the past, so long as they have a present result, and that present result is the focus of the clause. "I've lost my keys" is a single event in the past, and it means, "I'm missing my keys right now."
    – gotube
    Oct 9 '21 at 16:43
  • @gotube: That's all perfectly true, but I don't see how it relates to the fact that OP's "Joan" example isn't really idiomatically valid. OIC - you don't think there's anything wrong with it! Oct 9 '21 at 17:35
  • @FumbleFingers I don't think it is difficult to come up with a situation in which the present perfect in the "Joan"example makes a sense. Assume that, in the middle of conversation with others, Joan got a call and walked out of the meeting room, without taking her bag with her, that she has not come back to the room for the bag until now, and that her bag is therefore still in the meeting room. In such a situation, do you think the "Joan" example sentence above sounds good?
    – Sunny Lee
    Oct 10 '21 at 8:58

The sentence about Joan is good. There's no rule against having different tenses, so long as they make sense. An easy example to demonstrate this is, "I've been to Tahiti twice and would love to see it again."

The present perfect tense has several different functions, and one difference between your two sentences is the function. Your sentence about Joan has the function of "a finished event in the past that has a present effect". Your sentence about Tom has the function of, "a continuous event that began in the past and continues to the present".

Another difference is that the Joan sentence also has a simple past tense. Normally, a simple past verb must have a finished time for when it happened. In "Joan walked out and has left her bag", "walked out" provides the context for "has left her bag", so it takes the implied time frame of "recently" from "has left her bag". It could be rephrased with both verbs in the present perfect:

Joan has walked out and left her bag.

(Here, though "left" is on its own and looks like simple past, it's actually the past participle, forming present perfect by sharing the "has" with "walked out".)

  • Downvote with no comment :'(
    – gotube
    Oct 9 '21 at 18:17
  • 1
    Oh, yes, you are right. I will move it to the OP. Sorry and thanks.
    – Sunny Lee
    Oct 11 '21 at 3:13

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