I've come across the following sentence and I am surprised to see the usage of the Present Perfect in the second part of the sentence: "...how some Chinese travelers have behaved on trips." How would you justify the choice of the Present Perfect over the Simple Past?

"Media and even the Chinese president have been critical of how some Chinese travellers have behaved on trips." Source: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20150219-the-latest-chinese-status-symbol

Many thanks!

2 Answers 2


The simple past excludes present time. But the article is very much referencing ongoing present time. The schools are training Chinese now. The past bad behavior very much has present and ongoing relevance. The logic of the article is that since some Chinese are being trained at schools now, then the issue of bad behavior is still very much a present one. It is not something that is over. It is not something that was an issue in the past but is no longer today. If it were the simple past would be more likely, as it excludes present time. Note the present perfect is also used in the next paragraph. It has very much the same meaning. There have been repeated incidents of bad behavior that continue to make headlines.


The present perfect because the subject looked back on actions in the past from the present, and it included "now". "Now" was not excluded, still there is a connection to the present.

  • "The present perfect because the subject looked back on actions in the past from the present." sounds like a strange reason for choosing the present perfect for me. If we have to use the present perfect when someone is looking back on something that happened in the past, then what's the past simple for? Mar 13, 2015 at 21:35
  • OK, I corrected the whole sentence to express the idea. Mar 13, 2015 at 21:37

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