In an answer to this question, "I hope you enjoyed..." vs "I hope you have enjoyed...", the following is stated:

Both tenses refer to an event that occurred in the past (the enjoyment of whatever is being referred to). However, the first construction focuses more on what happened at the time, whereas the second focuses on the effect of what happened. In other words, the hope being expressed in the first phrase is that the listener enjoyed (whatever is being referred to) at the time it was happening. In the second, the hope is that the listener is currently in a state of having enjoyed whatever is being referred to. The events that would lead to either condition are identical, but the focus is (slightly) different.

At the end of this Cambridge Dictionary blog post about idioms, written by a native speaker of British English, I've encountered a similar construction (emphasis not mine):

[...] I’ll finish with a positive phrase. If someone makes a good offer or suggestion, especially if they have offered or suggested something less attractive before, you can show your enthusiasm by saying Now you’re talking!:

10% more money and my own office? Now you’re talking!

I hope you found these phrases useful. Look out for my next post, on phrases containing the verbs ‘speak’ and ‘say’.

I find this usage confusing. To my mind this appears to be a textbook example of what the quoted answer above says about the usage of "I hope you have enjoyed", repeated once again here:

the hope is that the listener is currently in a state of having enjoyed whatever is being referred to

If I were writing a short piece of text like that blog post, I would expect the reader to have absorbed everything by the end, and that everything is still in their mind, their thoughts. The entire post isn't in the past; it's still being talked about (until the last word) and thought about (perhaps even hours after reading it).

I would therefore hope the reader has found it useful, not that they found it useful 3 minutes ago when they came across an idiom they hadn't known and now no longer find it useful. The goal would definitely be that the reader retains some of the newly found information.

...or is this really the case where it's interchangeable, with no appreciable difference, perhaps even due to the fact it's such a common thing to say ("I hope you found it useful/helpful/etc.")?

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    Actually, Present Perfect Hope you have found,,,) would be my least favoured phrasing for the context. Simple Past isn't much better, though - I'd much rather use Simple Present I hope you find these phrases useful. As a general principle, you should probably always use the simplest tense that "might" be acceptable, unless you know for sure native speakers normally use a difference tense in the context. Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 14:57
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    To me the simple past sounds fine. In theory this might be one of those situations where American English allows the simple past more readily than British English, but (per @FumbleFingers) it doesn't seem that British speakers would find the present perfect better.
    – alphabet
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 17:56
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    In terms of pronunciation, the difference between "you've found" and "you found" is almost nonexistent, which may add to the confusion here.
    – alphabet
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 17:58
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    If the speaker knows that addressee has already derived [any and all] benefit from whatever was made available, Past Tense found is the only logical choice. But regardless of whether addressee has started to find [whatever] useful, I would still use Present Tense find if there's any chance at all that the addressee will continue to derive benefit (now and into the future). Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 18:07
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    ...and here's the evidence that the Perfect form isn't exactly well favoured, even in potentially more formal written contexts. Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


I agree with you. If "I enjoyed it", the occasion has already ended (in the past). If "I have enjoyed it", the occasion is merely ending soon (or now).

Often these two tenses are interchangable, but there is a nuanced difference of meaning in them.

In contrast, I might say or write, "Up until now, I have enjoyed it, but now that I have hurt myself, I cannot enjoy it any longer." Here, the alternative "Up until now, I enjoyed it…" doesn't quite fit.

Likewise, the statement "I hope you have found these phrases useful" is about the present occasion (perhaps including many similar previous occasions implicitly), whereas "I hope you found these phrases useful" is about past occasions only. I would be more likely to write "I hope you find these phrases useful", as I am describing ongoing present and future "finding" by the reader.

I'd also argue that the sentence "I hope you found these phrases useful", in this context, should be deleted, as it is unnecessary fluff text that does not convey anything to the reader--of course the author wants us to find it useful; he or she wouldn't write useless info! But this is a matter of copyediting and style, not of grammar.

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