When it is a statement about a habit, a regular event, or things like that, what tense do we use in a noun clause: simple past or present perfect?

Example 1

Whenever I am taking notes, I write down what the teacher taught.

Example 2

Whenever I am taking notes, I write down what the teacher has taught.

In my view: I guess both are acceptable, but British English speakers might think it is better to use present perfect because they tend to perceive simple past is a single past event. However, I am not sure. Can anyone shed light on this topic?

  • Do you mean that you often take notes and those times you write down what the teacher taught? Oct 14, 2023 at 10:31
  • Is teaching, is best here.
    – Lambie
    Oct 14, 2023 at 13:36

2 Answers 2


You use present simple to describe current habitual activities:

Whenever I take notes, I write down what the teacher teaches.

You would only use a past tense to describe a past (and no longer current) habitual action:

Whenever I took notes, I wrote down what the teacher taught.

You would only use present perfect if the writing occurs after the teaching:

At the end of each day, I write down everything that the teacher has taught that day.


Both are acceptable, but the present perfect is defter, as typically notes are written down soon after a teacher has uttered something noteworthy, not long after. You are describing your practice of taking notes while the utterance is still "fresh".

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