Could you explain to me why one verb is present perfect and the other one past simple? Here is the sentence:

This band has recently toured with X and they did a radio session with Y.

Why aren't both verbs past simple? Is it because they may tour again with X but they won't do another radio session with Y (kind of one off)? or is it because they did a radio session before touring?

2 Answers 2


Although it is grammatically correct to mix tenses that way (notice that the writer did use "they" to give "did" its own subject), it might sound better with matching tenses. But I don't buy the argument about major versus minor; the tense implies no such thing. Using "has recently toured" simply means they went on one or more tours. However, mentioning the touring first could be taken to imply the touring was more worthy of mention—but not necessarily.

If you think the tenses should match, consider "The band has recently toured with X and done a radio show with Y." (notice how with matching tenses, leaving out "they" seems normal; "has" spans "toured" and "done".) Or, if the radio show preceded the touring and was not recent: "The band has done a radio show with Y[,] and [they] recently toured with X."


This sentence structure may seem somewhat "unbalanced" to you, however as it turns out, the present perfect is sometimes used to announce something, e.g. a victory, achievement, or on the contrary - a mishap, disaster.

Germany has won the World Cup! (the use of the simple past here would render this a simple fact, with no apparent sense of accomplishment, excitement, newsworthiness.

The market has crashed! (=not good news!)

I've solved the riddle! (=finally!)

Perhaps the speaker in your sentence viewed touring with X as a major accomplishment for the band, and the radio session just a "factoid."

  • Sorry, but I totally disagree with your assertion that it would have been "better" to use the same tense throughout. These are at best subjective issues concerning stylistic variants - but as it happens, I personally think that present perfect is in fact more appropriate for the first verb in OP's citation. It may well be that consistency of tense is desirable as a general principle, but I don't think it's helpful to slavishly apply that principle to every context possible. It doesn't really apply here. Jul 28, 2014 at 20:13
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    I agree, I just wanted to agree with OP that the sentence structure was somewhat "marked." However I overgeneralized and I'll change it. Thanks for the heads-up.
    – CocoPop
    Jul 28, 2014 at 20:45
  • so the author uses present perfect because for him, touring is the most important action not a simple fact as doing a session .Am I right?
    – Yves Lefol
    Jul 29, 2014 at 5:50
  • @user5577: That's one interpretation. Actually, that would be my interpretation. However, as FumbleFingers pointed out, it could also be the writer's stylistic preference for whatever reason. The bottom line is that it's not incorrect to combine tenses in this way, as is in fact a way to make your writing more expressive and vivid when done correctly. And by "correct" I mean that it accurately reflects the way you view the actions, and/or the tenses used are otherwise justified by their syntactic roles in the context at hand. Great question!
    – CocoPop
    Jul 29, 2014 at 13:33
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    +0.9 I'd also indicate that "recently" gives the cue to support your interpretion that the speaker thinks the tour is more relevant than the radio session.
    – Nico
    Aug 25, 2014 at 9:10

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