I would like to make a general statement as an advice or a general truth. Which tense should I use in these sentences?

  1. The term “No problem“ used after someone (says)/(has said)/(said) thank you.

  2. If someone (says)/(has said)/(said) something bad about you, forget it and keep moving.

  3. When we take our devices into bed, and see new likes on a picture we just (post)/(have posted)/(posted), this causes the release of another chemical in our brains, dopamine.

It seems the AE accepts to use simple past for these sentences. But BE only accepts present perfect or present simple. I still confused.

  • What you say about AmE and BrE here is not true. Bu the way, the word advice is a noun and the verb is to advise someone to do something. You seem to have three different questions but 1) does not seem to be there. just takes present perfect+ to have just done something.
    – Lambie
    Jun 19, 2022 at 15:28
  • I (British) would use says for the first two (if you want to use the present perfect, it should be has said). For the third, have just posted. Jun 19, 2022 at 15:38
  • Hi @Lambie. You said that my questions are different. But as I see, they are similar, they all talks about general things ( general statement). I still don’t know when it is allowed to use which tense.
    – LE HANH
    Jun 19, 2022 at 23:59
  • Hi@KateBunting, thank you for pointing out my mistakes, it should be “has”. I don’t understand why I can’t use simple past for the first 2 examples, but for the last example I can use simple past
    – LE HANH
    Jun 20, 2022 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


The simple present is good for making general statements. The past tense would seem to refer to a specific time in the past, and so be about a specific event. This is clearest in 2:

If someone says ...

This presents a possible hypothetical situation, and then gives advice on how to deal with it.

If someone said ...

This could be used to speak about a specific event, for example if a child has just told you "My sister called me a worm" and you are replying to that child. The perfect has a similar nuance.

The third is rather different, as the verb is in the main part of the clause. It refers to the past time, so present tense shouldn't be used. Present perfect looks like the best option, though past tense isn't wrong either.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .