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It's really confusing to choose the correct tense between simple past and present perfect.

Let's assume one situation:

Every student has to bring his/her own name tag to the class, but today I forgot to bring it. If a professor notices that I'm not with the name tag now, she would ask me:

  • 'Don't you have your name tag?'

Then I would say:

  • 'Yes. I have the name tag but I forgot to bring it', right?

But is it okay for me to say:

  • 'Yes. I have the name tag but I didn't bring it', or
  • 'Yes. I have the name tag but I haven't brought it.'

Which one is correct between 'I didn't bring it' and 'I haven't brought it'?
(So confusing to pick up the right tense.)

marked as duplicate by user6951, Chenmunka, StoneyB grammar Jun 10 '15 at 14:04

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • It's more helpful if you asked for the difference between "forgot to bring" and "have forgotten to bring", isn't it? – XPMai Jun 10 '15 at 9:57

Actually, in the scenario you presented, you could use both of them, and it would be correct.

However, in some other scenarios, they can have slightly different connotations. Lets take this example:

Firstly with the past simple

A. We are going to have to buy a new sofa, thanks to your reckless actions.

B. Mum, I didn't break the sofa!

This could suggest that the action has happened in the past. In this scenario, it suggests that B denies breaking the sofa.

With perfect present

A. We are going to have to buy a new sofa...

B. Mum, I haven't broken the sofa!

Although this could mean the same thing as the first example, a connotation could be that B thinks that the sofa is not broken.

So yes, usually both versions can be interchangeable, but they can have slightly different meanings. So in response to your question, I think this is the best option:

Yes, I have the name tag but I forgot to bring it.

because it is an action that has happened in the past, and you are apologising for it, but...

you can use them both.

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