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The first following sentence is original which I saw on a grammar source.

I can't really tell you what's wrong until I have received the results of the blood tests.

But the sentence made a question pop up in my mind that if we can say these following sentences also? If we can what would they imply different than the original sentence?

I can't really tell you what's wrong until I receive the results of the blood tests.

or

I can't really tell you what's wrong until I received the results of the blood tests

or

I can't really tell you what's wrong until I am receiving the results of the blood tests.

1 Answer 1

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Let's look at the options you have provided. All your sentences start with:

I can't really tell you what's wrong until...

Because we are using "until", we are talking about something that is going to happen in the future. When that thing happens, other things of interest can also happen, such as telling you what's wrong. This automatically disqualifies the past tense ("until I received"), or the present progressive ("until I am receiving").

So really there are two choices:

  • I can't really tell you what's wrong until I receive the results of the blood tests.
  • I can't really tell you what's wrong until I have received the results of the blood tests.

Both sentences are correct and express the same meaning. The use of the present perfect ("I have received") is to emphasize that something (a diagnosis) is the consequence of an event in the near past (receiving the blood results):

I have received your blood results, and I have some bad news.

which is a way of saying

I received your blood results recently, looked at them, and discovered that something was wrong.

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