Inspired by a lang-8 text I've been proofreading:

In the last post I have written about my first summer internship.

I know that it is a no-no to use the Present Perfect with a specific time expression:

On 12 May 2014 I have written about.. (ERROR: must use "I wrote")

Do constructions like "the last letter" or "the last post" qualify as something akin to specific time expressions? I mean, do they unequivocally put the event in the "completed past"? Should we always substitute for:

In the last post I wrote (not "I have written"!) about my first summer internship.

  • 2
    I don't know if it has to do with "time expressions" but it's definitely "I wrote". – Catija Jul 7 '15 at 21:05
  • @Catija - thanks for the comment, I've expanded my question to clarify my idea. – CowperKettle Jul 7 '15 at 21:09
  • 1
    Maybe if you think of it as the same thing as "last week"... which is a specific time and follows a more similar structure as "in the last post"? Both of these constructions would require "I wrote". – Catija Jul 7 '15 at 21:10
  • @Catija - yes. I thought "in the last post" implies some specific and "completed" time period in the past. – CowperKettle Jul 7 '15 at 21:14
  • 1
    A single post is indeed a discrete, completed event. In my last letter.... But one could say In my latest posts, I've been asking about.... – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 8 '15 at 11:38

In the last post or in the last letter is indeed a completed action in the past as in last week, and for this reason we cannot use the present perfect.

In this case the use of simple past is required.

  • +1. I removed "the" before "as in <strike>the</strike> last week" just to avoid confusion. "In the last week, I have received four calls from telemarketers at dinner time." "Last week" is discrete and complete; "in the last week" is a span that is proximate to the present. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 8 '15 at 12:15
  • Much obliged @TRomano!-:) – Lucian Sava Jul 8 '15 at 12:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.