I saw an advertisement in the newspaper. I want to send an e-mail regarding the advertisement. Should I write it as:

  • I saw your advert in the newspaper.
  • I have seen your advert in the newspaper.

If I read the newspaper just a while ago, should I use the present perfect?

  • 1
    It's primarily opinion based. But I've seen/saw won't look professional IMO. However, I'd write... "According to your advertisement dated .... in ....." No matter when the mail/letter reaches, it's better to be specific by mentioning date of advertisement. – Maulik V Jul 30 '15 at 8:58
  • Both being possible doesn't make this primarily opinion based. If you think both are fine, then you can post that as an answer. – snailboat Jul 30 '15 at 10:10

Both are not professional and you'd better to start with something like "According to your advertisement dated... in..." and address the advertisement. (the date, the newspaper).

But if you want to know the implication of each:

As your email is based on what you have seen, providing they still have the same requirement, you can use the present perfect.

This way, you imply that your request is in connection with the advertisement and their need (which is still the same).

if you are not sure that they still need the same requirements, you may address the advertisement and use "saw".


We use the present perfect to talk about an experience at any time in the past. The exact time of the experience isn't important. I have seen your advert in the newspaper.

We use the past simple to talk about a specific occasion in the past. I saw your advert in the newspaper a while ago.


I saw your advert in the newspaper.

I have seen your advert in the newspaper.

The OP says that he read the paper a while ago.

You use the present perfect for recent actions. So if you follow BE, you cannot use the first sentence that's in the past. Instead, you should use the second sentence that's in the present perfect.

On the other hand, you can use either the first sentence or the second sentence in AE.

However, if you are referring to times in the past or in the present, you will form sentences accordingly. For examples:

I saw your advert in the paper yesterday, last week, a while ago, etc.

I have seen your advert in the paper today, this week, etc.

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