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I don't know if I'm supposed to write an intro before the question since I'm new here lol I'd like to know if it's correct to use just followed by the simple past, e.g.:

I just watched the first episode. (Simple Past)

I'm a little bit confused because I see people using both forms: this and

I've just watched the first episode. (Present Perfect)

Thanks in advance!

  • Welcome to ELL, Marina! Did you mean to compare "I've just watched" to "I just watched" (Present Perfect and Present Simple)? – CowperKettle Jan 4 '15 at 7:04
  • Thanks! Simple past requires a specific time, right? In that case, I could still use the simple past? I normally see "I've just watched" but "I just watched" appears a lot too. :) – Marina De Brito Alves Jan 4 '15 at 7:17
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    A related question at ELU: "I just ate them v. I've just eaten them" – CowperKettle Jan 4 '15 at 9:03
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It is not strictly necessary to use a specific time reference with the Past Simple.

It is the other way around: when you use the Present Perfect, you better not use a specific past time reference:

I have watched this movie yesterday. (invalid sentence: the time period mentioned - "yesterday" - has already ended)

Concerning your question,

I just watched the first episode.

Is an appropriatetly formed sentence in the American English. British English speakers prefer to use the Present Perfect:

I've just watched the first episode.


Reference

  1. Comparison of American and British English - Wikipedia
  2. An answer to a related question at ELU.
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In normal good English, JUST used with the simple past means ONLY to the exclusion of anything else. The word used with the past present ("have verb-ed") means the action was very recent. The form Verb-ed used with a specific marker of time (as in the example above: I've just watched the first episode yesterday) is wrong and should be: I watched the first episode yesterday.

Compare:

I have watched the first episode.

I have never watched the first episode.

I watched the first episode yesterday.

Yesterday I watched JUST the first episode (and no other).

I JUSY watch the first episode yesterday(and did nothing else).

I watched the first episode recently/yesterday.

I watched the first episode JUST / ONLY (as recently as) yesterday.

I have watched only the first episode.

I have watched JUST the first episode (and no other)

I have watched just the first episode.

For many people JUST and ONLY are troublesome. These words limit the scope of what immediately follows.

I JUST watered the flowers (that's all I did).

I watered ONLY / JUST the flowers (and watered nothing else).

I have JUST watered the flowers (very recent).

ONLY I watered / have watered the flowers (and nobody else).

Etc., etc.

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Since it's in a Present Perfect form; it's just normal to put 'have' right after the subject. we also include adverbial phrase (already,yesterday) at the end of the sentence for Present perfect. I think it's better to say "I've just watched the first episode yesterday".

  • Welcome to ELL! Could you please be more elaborate on why an adverbial phrase would be better? Maybe also support your claims with a source? – M.A.R. Sep 2 '15 at 12:34

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