I have the following sentence.

"The Federal Aviation Administration has given the Texas city the go-ahead to build the United State's tenth commercial spaceport."

And I would like to understand why present perfect was used in this sentence.

In my opinion, present perfect is used because the action, I mean 'has given' has connection to the present. In other words the Texas city has today the resolution to build a commercial spaceport.

  • It is simply present perfect for news. m.youtube.com/watch?v=SO_CMGS0Icg – rogermue Sep 5 '15 at 20:32
  • The Youtube video is not bad, but the term " headline news" is a bit confusing. True, newspapers use present perfect for news items. But "Oh my God, I've lost my keys" has nothing to do with newspapers. - And the last sentence "John has been to Ireland" is not perfect for news, but perfect for fact. – rogermue Sep 6 '15 at 4:08
  • Click on that tag for present-perfect and start reading. There is a ton of information, as well as examples and explanations, to be found. – user20792 Nov 5 '15 at 16:10
  • If you use the past tense gave, everything you said about "connection to the present" could still be true. With the present perfect, we know it is still true, as of the time of writing. – user20792 Nov 5 '15 at 16:14

You use the present perfect for recent actions; it tells you about the past and the present. When you give a piece of information, as commented by rogermue, you usually use the present perfect. When you give further details or ask when and where something happened, you use the past simple. Look at the following sentences:

A: I have bought a new car.

B: When did you buy it?

A: I bought it last week.

So the use of the present perfect in the sentence presented by the OP is correct grammatically.

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  • When you say you have done something, the exact time of the event isn't important. If you say - I have bought a new car - the questions to connect the past event with the present should be like - what's its color? - is it fast? - However when the sentence is in past simple like - I bought a new car - the normal question is - when did you buy it? - – Alejandro Nov 5 '15 at 15:51

Your opinion is sound.  The statement is connected to the present. 

The complete verb of the clause in question is "has given".  The "has" uses the present tense.  The "given" uses the perfect aspect. 

The meaning of the present tense is obvious.  This verb has a location in time, and that location is now

The meaning of the perfect aspect might be less obvious.  The word "perfect" means something like "complete" or "finished".  In this sentence, that meaning makes sense.  The act of giving is complete. 

The FAA gave the go-ahead.  That action is finished.  The city now has the go-ahead.  This state-of-being exists in the present.  The verb form "has given" represents the present-tense result of that finished act of giving. 

Ordinarily, the finished action is an action in the past.  This is the reason that the name for the perfect aspect form is "the past participle".  However, past participles do not have a tense.  This can be demonstrated by listing past, present and future tense verb constructions, all using the perfect aspect: had given, has given, will have given.  It is even possible for the perfect aspect to be unfinished, incomplete, or ongoing.  This can be demonstrated by listing verb constructions that also include the continuous aspect: had been giving, has been giving, will have been giving. 

What the perfect aspect always does is indicate a relevant result. 

In the sentence in question, the relevant result is that one Texas city has the go-ahead given by the FAA.  In other words, that city has the authorization to being building a commercial space port. 

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  • So if the sentence has the word "gave" instead of " has given" then we do not know now what is going on the city now ... is that right please ? – Gamal Thomas Nov 19 '16 at 11:23

The present perfect is used to frame the time of the following infinitive "to build". By using the present perfect, we know that the building of the spaceport is still in the future. If we were to used the past-tense "gave" in place of "has given", the sentence would suggest the spaceport has already been built.

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