The following is from a movie called "Home Abduction" (here's a link to that moment on YouTube):

Woman #2 goes upstairs. Woman #1 is waiting for her downstairs. Woman #1 hears woman #2 crying, and they have this conversation:

Woman #1: "What's the matter?"

Woman #2: "Oh... I slipped on Ava's soccer ball. I think I broke my... Oh..."

Since the situation is current: woman #2 is now on the floor, and her leg or whatever it is is now broken, could she as well have said:

Oh... I've slipped on Ava's soccer ball. I think I've broken my... Oh...

Is the original with "I slipped" and "I broke" correct in both British and American English, and is the other version with "I've slipped" and "I've broken" also correct in both varieties of English in the context given? Thanks in advance.


I asked this question because it seemed to me that the version with "I've slipped" and "I've broken" was more appropriate in the context given because those verb forms, in my opinion, give the listener the information that the speaker is now on the floor and that their leg is now broken. At the same time, I think they signal to the listener that there's a medical emergency on, and that they should do something about it to help the speaker.

I also wanted to see if speakers of different varieties of English would prefer different verb forms in this context.

  • Contracted or not, I have slipped... is very unlikely in the first position. Both Simple Past and Present Perfect are fine for the second position. The choice there simply depends on whether the speaker wants to focus on what happened THEN or what condition she's in NOW. Hence Present Perfect is much more likely if the speaker continues with something like ...it really hurts Commented Mar 13 at 16:23
  • @FumbleFingers See, of course, "I've fallen and I can't get up!" But to prof1589, certainly neither is incorrect. Consider editing the question to say why you thought it might be, as that might be a more useful answer. Commented Mar 13 at 18:34
  • 1
    @AndyBonner I've edited my question.
    – prof1589
    Commented Mar 13 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


I add to what @FumbleFingers said.

The breaking may still be relevant to the current situation and hence can be in the present perfect. If there's no more of such relevance, we use just the simple past.

The slipping is less likely to have that relevance and should be in simple past.

These are fine:

I slipped ... I broke ...

I slipped ... I've broken ... (I'm in pain now).

The following may be possible:

Ava, I told you not to leave your things lying around. Grandma and several aunts are coming, and we don't want anyone to slip on those things.

See, I've slipped on the soccer ball. Please keep your things before more mishaps happen.

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