# The United Kingdom had its coldest April night since 2018

Normally, you'd need the present perfect (or the past perfect) when accompanied by since, as in:

The United Kingdom has had more than 1 million diagnosed cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

But I can't seem to use the present perfect in this sentence:

The United Kingdom had its coldest April night since 2018.

In the original text, which was written on the 8th of the month, the coldest April night was referring to the night of the 5th. https://washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/04/07/record-cold-europe-alaska Do you think the author used the past tense had because he didn't think that was recent enough to justify using the present perfect? Or do you think he could have used the present perfect instead?

• You can use the present perfect in that case too. Apr 20, 2022 at 6:30
• @JamesK What does The United Kingdom has had its coldest April night since 2018. mean? When is the coldest April night? Apr 20, 2022 at 6:43
• At some time so it affects the present, probably recently, perhaps last night. Apr 20, 2022 at 6:55
• @JamesK Thanks. In the original text, which was written on the 8th of the month, the coldest April night was referring to the night of the 5th. washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/04/07/record-cold-europe-alaska Do you think the author used the past tense had because he didn't think that was recent enough to justify using the present perfect? Or do you think he could have used the present perfect instead? Apr 20, 2022 at 7:05
• You must add that context and that source to your question. Apr 20, 2022 at 7:19

You use the past tense to write about past time. So if the author says

The UK had its coldest April night since 2018 on the night of the 5th of April.

You must use the past tense.

You can also establish a past time in a previous sentence.

On April the fifth, there was widespread frost damage. The UK had its coldest night since 2018.

You must use the past tense because it is about a particular time in the past.

It is grammatically correct to say

The UK has had its coldest night since 2018.

That makes a connection to the present, and so suggests it is an event in the recent past, possibly last night.

It would be odd to put "since 2018" at the start of the sentence. This changes the meaning.

Since 2018, the UK has had its coldest night.

This suggests something like "The UK has had its coldest ever night, at some point between 2018 and now" That's a different meaning. The phrase "since 2018" needs to be placed at the end. This is because the original sentence is parsed

[The UK (has) had its [coldest night since 2018]].

and not

[The UK (has) had its coldest night] [since 2018].

• Thank you. One final question: I think Since 2018, the UK has had its coldest night works. But does the same also work for the past tense sentences? Since 2018, the UK had its coldest April night on the night of the 5th of April. or On April the fifth, there was widespread frost damage. Since 2018, the UK had its coldest night. Apr 20, 2022 at 7:32

Technically, I believe it is correct to use either past or present perfect in either of these sentences. In general, I would tend to use present perfect (has had) to talk about something that happened over a period of time, while I would use past tense (had) to talk about a specific moment.

The real issue is that

The United Kingdom had its coldest April night since 2018.

doesn't make much sense. It's grammatically correct, but meaningless. Of course some April night was the coldest, but which one? It would make more sense to say something like "The United Kingdom just had its coldest April night since 2018" or "On Wednesday, the United Kingdom had its coldest April night since 2018"

In the article you linked to, the sentence is actually:

The United Kingdom had its coldest April night since 2018 while, in England, it was the coldest since 2013.

This a specific event that happened. One night, it was the coldest since 2018 in the UK and the coldest since 2013 in England.

Alternatively, you could say something like

The UK has had three of the coldest April nights since 2018 this month.

to talk about something that was ongoing. That sounds natural to me, but, again, either had or has had would be equally correct here.

• In the article, there's this parenthetical phrase (Tuesday night into early Wednesday) right after its coldest April night. Apr 20, 2022 at 10:42