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This is the first time I have eaten sushi and I liked that

that should be possible because have eaten means that my meal is finished but I'm not sure or should use like

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  • 5
    Where did you find that sentence? Did you make it up yourself? There are some errors in the grammar. I would suggest a correction "This was the first time I had eaten sushi, and I liked it." - this means it happened at an earlier time, and you are not currently eating sushi. Note also that "sushi" is generally an uncountable noun, and has no plural form.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 18, 2023 at 9:31
  • If you want to use this while you were actually eating sushi, at the present time, you could say "This is the first time I have eaten sushi, and I like it". "Have eaten" is used here when we talk about past a past experience (that you have naver tasted sushi before, in the past)., and connecting that to what is happening now in the present.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 18, 2023 at 9:41
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    It's sushi, e.g “This is the first time I've eaten egg-fried rice” (NOT rices)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 18, 2023 at 10:11
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    Sushis is not a word in English. It's a mass noun, not a count noun. Only partitive constructions are allowed when counting is needed; e.g., Seventeen pieces of nigiri sushi.
    – tchrist
    Jun 18, 2023 at 14:08
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    There is a discrepancy between the title question and the body, where the additional "and I liked that" indicates you finished eating. From the title alone, it isn't known, because if you are still eating we don't say "This is the first time I am eating sushi" or "This is the first time I eat sushi". Jun 18, 2023 at 19:07

3 Answers 3

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You can say "This is the first time [that] I have eaten sushi " at any time after you have put a piece of sushi in you mouth and before you leave the table/restaurant.

because have eaten means that my meal is finished

This is not true. Even if there is the rest of the meal to be eaten, you have eaten as soon as one piece of food enters your mouth and you have bitten it.

Does "this is the first time I have eaten sushi "mean I have finished eating or I'm still eating sushis?

Neither. As you can also say this after the first bite and immediately after having eaten all your meal, the present perfect does not tell you the stage of the meal you have reached. All we know is that you have started to eat.

The pronoun “This” has a great effect on the sentence. “This” implies the current experience, and that can be understood as being at the table/restaurant or the action of eating a piece of sushi.

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    This answer makes the important point that the word "This" references a specific experience or event. Before sitting down to eat, one may "This will be the first time I have eaten sushi" or "This will be my first time eating sushi", referring to the expected future. Also, even when you've finished the meal, "This is the first time I've eaten sushi" still makes sense for a short time afterwards. A group of people walking out of the restaurant together, chatting about the meal is an extension of the activity. Later, or the next day, you'd say "That was the first time I ate sushi" instead.
    – barbecue
    Jun 18, 2023 at 18:20
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    It seems that it would be possible to use the sentence even slightly before ever having eaten sushi. For example consider having ordered sushi at a restaurant and then being asked what you think about sushi before actually receiving it. It feels to me that "This is the first time I have eaten sushi" would be a perfectly normal response. I think it would be quite hard to draw an exact dividing line between when it feels normal to say it and when it feels incorrect.
    – Fishbane
    Jun 18, 2023 at 23:16
  • "you have eaten as soon as one piece of food enters your mouth and you have bit it" - Not sure about the latter requirement. If I swallow some food whole without biting or chewing it, I've still eaten, haven't I? Swallowing seems like the relevant criteria. If you put food in your mouth and then spit it out, you haven't eaten anything. Once you swallow, you have. Whether or not you bite or chew.
    – aroth
    Jun 19, 2023 at 3:15
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    @Fishbane I was going to say the same thing. I think my dividing line would be "the point at which the action (eating sushi in this case) become inevitable."
    – MikeB
    Jun 19, 2023 at 8:22
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    @user5577 Almost. The past tense in the second clause is not quite right – the present perfect would be more natural: “This is the first time I’ve played tennis, and I’ve already won my first match!” is perfectly correct and natural. This would be used if you’re speaking between matches or just after you finished playing. (Note that winning a match is inherently different from liking something – liking is a stative verb, so we rarely use the perfective aspect, except to describe how long it has lasted. So don’t say “… and I’ve liked it”.) Jun 19, 2023 at 8:22
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1: This is the first time I have ever done something that I am still doing1
2: That was the first time I had ever done something (no 'still doing' implications)

You can't really start #1 with That is..., but you could start #2 with This was... if preceding text has established the sushi-eating occasion as a "current narrative topic / focus".

Equally, you can't use the combination of verb tenses This is ... I had in #1, but you could use That was ... I have in #2. The second verb form is really just a stylistic choice reflecting whether the speaker is more interested in talking about his past or present circumstances.


1 Sometimes you might use Present Perfect like this if you've very recently finished doing something. For example, you might say #1 to the maitre d' as you leave a restaurant, after having eaten sushi there. As ever, Present Perfect simply implies a very strong connection to "time of utterance", so that scenario is "close enough".

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To the level of detail that you're focusing on, "sushi" and "the meal" are different.

When you have put one piece of sushi in your mouth, chewed it, and swallowed it, you have eaten sushi. How many other pieces are on your plate is an irrelevant consideration.

In reality, we don't limit ourselves to only saying "having [done X]" meaning that X must now be done. If this is the first time I've heard Metallica play live that doesn't mean I'm not still hearing it. We allow for subdivision. Hearing Metallica play live can be subdivided into smaller experiences which also count as hearing Metallica play live.

However, there are some actions which are inherently bounded, and you cannot subdivided any further. If this is the first time I have punched someone named Robert, then my fist has already connected with Robert. I cannot state this while I'm still in the process of swinging my fist, as that does not constitute a punch (yet), at best it is the intention of a punch.

This is a very contextual process that does not rely on grammatical precision, it's driven by informal convention based on what sounds right.

Therefore, if I slightly change your example:

This is the first time I have eaten 20 pieces of sushi

Then yes, this statement can only be made after eating the 20th piece of sushi.

But "eating sushi" is something that can be divided into smaller steps, it is unrelated to the size of the meal, so that same answer does not apply to your actual question.

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  • I have eaten sushi for many years, but I have never eaten 20 pieces of sushi. I would understand "eaten 20 pieces of sushi" as "eaten 20 pieces of sushi during one meal".
    – gnasher729
    Jun 19, 2023 at 9:08
  • @gnasher729: Yes, the assumption being that we're talking about meal size, not lifetime count. Otherwise we get into "I'm the oldest I've ever been" territory :)
    – Flater
    Jun 19, 2023 at 23:48

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