7

When a person is taking an examination which prohibits anyone to take a mobile phone or any other recording devices, examiners often ask the question,

where is your mobile phone?

To answer this question in this context, which answer of the two below sounds natural? Or how should it be answered if neither is good enough?

I've left it home.
I left it at home.

6

Although it's true most native speakers would reply "I left it at home" in this exact context, that doesn't imply "I have left it at home" (or contracted I've) is somehow incorrect or otherwise inappropriate.

The Present Perfect is normally used when you want to make a connection between the past action and the present moment. But in OP's example there's no need for the more complex tense; the connection between past/present is semantically implicit anyway, so you may as well use the simpler tense.

There aren't actually many contexts where the choice between present perfect/simple past makes much difference. One that comes to mind is...

1: He earned my trust [in the past, so I lent him some money, which unfortunately he never repaid]
2: He has earned my trust [so I am now going to lend him some money, which I'm sure he will repay]

...in those examples, the bracketed supplementary text only really works with the tenses as given.

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  • Is it correct to answer it without "at"? "I left it home." – canoe Mar 28 '13 at 6:33
  • 1
    @canoe No. You may use back. "I left it back home." – hjpotter92 Mar 28 '13 at 8:09
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The simplest reply would be to just say

At home.

without anything. Of the two, the correct one would be

I left it at home.

I've left is better suited in cases when the object is stationary(as in user3169's case it is airport). And it suggests that the task is still not complete.

P.S.: Saying At home may sound offensive to professors. You may also reply with: "I did not bring it."

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