I finished my studies and then I have become/became a teacher.

Another post regarding present perfect. Is it sufficient to use just past simple in the sentence above? Let's say that I am talking about events that happened a few years ago but I am still a teacher. I tend to apply here the rule related to present perfect that asserts that this structure is used "to indicate that a state of affair prevailed throughout some interval stretching from the past to present".

  • I have been a teacher since I finished my studies! May be?
    – Maulik V
    Oct 8, 2015 at 12:44
  • 1
    agree with @MaulikV Oct 8, 2015 at 12:46
  • 2
    May be. But I do not want to paraphrase the sentence. I want to preserve it as it stands and clarify the possibility of using present perfect. Or do you think that my sentence is unnatural or awkward?
    – bart-leby
    Oct 8, 2015 at 12:49
  • No, present perfect: finished x and became a teacher, no doubt about it.
    – Lambie
    Mar 30 at 23:34

3 Answers 3


It's perfectly OK to follow the past tense, finished, with either past or present perfect in speaking of your subsequently becoming a teacher; but you have to make up your mind whether you are talking about what happened in the past or about where you are now.

  • If you use then (or next or after that or in 2007) you are speaking of the past event and must use became. Use this if you are building a narrative, describing a sequence of events—which may eventually lead to the present, but doesn't have to.

  • If you use the present perfect you are speaking about your present status; you cannot use then because you are speaking about now. (You may, however, say since then.) Use this if your discourse is finished with speaking about past events and will now focus on the present.

  • @Araucaria Quite right. I will remove the offending characterization. I can only plead that my brain melted down last night on discovering that in discussing the as ... as construction CGEL says the first as is an adverb and the second a preposition! Oct 8, 2015 at 14:58
  • Yes, I remember that feeling. Not as/so weird, though, when you compare it to not so .... as, which I think I wrote about somewhere once. Erm, here. The so there is definitely a degree adverb. Oct 8, 2015 at 15:15
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    @Araucaria I haven't found a satisfactory handle on comparative constructions anywhere yet. Maybe there isn't one. Oct 8, 2015 at 15:25

Simple past tense "then I became a teacher" is correct, in your example.

Present perfect connects a past event to the present time... the time when the speaker is speaking.

"Then" connects the event to PREVIOUS event in chronological sequence. "I finished my studies and then I became a teacher."

You could justify the simple present perfect tense by connecting "becoming a teacher" to the present this way.

"I finished my studies last summer, and now I have become a teacher."

Sometime prior to the present you became a teacher. Usually simple present perfect means the action was completed recently, and has ongoing effects in the present. So, probably, you became a teacher recently and the ongoing effect is that you are a teacher now.

By implication, it happened after you finished your studies last summer.


Agree with @MaulikV 's comment above. It is okay but unnatural.

It sounds weird because the way it connects the two events is by using "and then", which leads us to think it should be two completed (or short) events. For example

"I finished my studies and then I became a teacher, but the school fired me, now i am jobless."

  • Unnatural to me as well...but I stuck to what the OP exactly wanted!
    – Maulik V
    Oct 8, 2015 at 12:53

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