You've seen how it happened. So, you're the next that they will come for.

Is it okay to use "have seen" in this sentence, or would past simple be more acceptable? I'm not sure which is better. On the one hand, I know the exact time of him seeing it. On the other hand, there is a connection with the present: you've seen it = you're the next.

  • It really makes no difference whether you use Simple Past or Present Perfect in this context - in the written form, your choice wouldn't give anyone even the faintest clue as to whether it was written by a native Anglophone or not. But I personally would take a bet with odds up to at least 10 to 1 that the "follow-on" sentence didn't come from a native speaker. We're much more likely to say something like So, they'll come for you next. (To be honest, I don't see what purpose "so" serves there, but I accept that many younger speakers routinely introduce "so" before whatever they say! :) Nov 28, 2021 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


Both fine, with very little difference in meaning. But as you note, the connection to the present (it is used as the reason for being "the next that they will come for") makes the present perfect a natural choice.

You know when they saw it, but you don't write the time when so that isn't a reason to use the past tense. Just knowing the time, doesn't make the sentence about that time in the past.

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