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Sometimes I am confused in choosing a proper tense to use with this word "REGRET":

I) I want to tell someone about my experiences until now, my life experiences so far:

  • (1) I have always been careful in making decisions, so I have never regretted anything I have done (implied "so far").
  • (2) I have always been careful in making decisions, so I have never regretted anything I did (implied "so far").

II) I want to tell someone about my typical habit/characteristic generally:

  • (3) I am always careful in making decisions, so I never regret anything I have done.
  • (4) I am always careful in making decisions, so I never regret anything I do.

II) I want to make general advice for my students:

  • (5) You should always be careful when making decisions, so that you will never regret anything you have done.
  • (6) You should always be careful when making decisions, so that you will never regret anything you do.

Q1: Please help me check which sentences are the good way to use in the 3 situations above.

Q2: It seems that I can't use the simple past (I did) in (2) with the implied meaning "so far". Right?

Q3: I think that In (1), I can change the present perfect "I have always been careful" into " I am always careful". Right?

Q4: I don't know what the difference is between "I have done" and "I do" in the sentences (3) and (4)/ (5) and (6).

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    This type of usage is not confined to American English, it is used in Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, Indian, Scottish and any other dialect of English.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 8:22
  • anything/everything/all things does this mean all the compound words/indefinite pronouns are appropriate or are you uncertain which one to use? “=> I think they have the same meaning when being used in this sentence. Right?
    – LE123
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 8:30
  • How about my sentences from (1) to (6), are they all correct to use?
    – LE123
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 8:31
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    In that list, only "anything" , which means "one/a thing", is the correct option. Because "Never" is a negative, we will usually use "any" and its compounds (anyone, anywhere, anything etc.) in sentences.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 9:03
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    You ask too many questions. :) Best of luck, hope you get some fabulous answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 10:10

1 Answer 1

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It isn't as complex as you think. Just remember that regret is a feeling, so you can feel it now even though the cause is something from the past. When you conjugate the verb the tense should reflect the timing of the feeling, not the events it relates to.

For example:

  • I regret my actions (you currently regret your past actions)
  • I regretted my actions (you felt regret in the past)
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    The question is the choice between simple past and present perfect: “…so I have never regretted anything I did / have done" to express the past, and between present simple and present perfect to express the present "…so I never regret anything I do / have done.”
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 11:18

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