2

She has returned five days ago.

I want to express the idea that she has returned, and that she returned five days ago. So I'm thinking the above construction is permissible, and I vaguely remember seeing such a construction in texts on the web, etc., and this is a source of confusion for me, as to what is really permissible, whether strictly or not-so-strictly.

Also, if the above is just not correct, what about this?:

She has returned, five days ago.

2
  • So how would you say these two separate but very related meanings in a way that is not verbose? That she has returned, and that she returned five days ago. "She's returned, and she returned five days ago"? This certainly doesn't seem to flow all that well, and I don't really think this is what anybody would really say in conversations. Note that the issue I have with just "she returned five days ago" is that it doesn't have that sense which the present perfect provides, of the current state being something. Also, after you say "she has returned," you may want to follow up with the latter then.
    – Max
    Dec 21 '15 at 8:47
  • 1
    I'd probably say, "She's been back for five days."
    – ruakh
    Dec 21 '15 at 15:55
1

The present perfect (have/has done) cannot refer to a specific time in the past. In fact, it can't even be restricted to any time-range that ends before the present. So, for example, these are fine:

She has returned.
She has returned recently.
She has returned within the past week.

but these are not:

*She has returned a few minutes ago.
*She has returned a long time ago.
*She has returned more than a week ago.

What you may be thinking of is the past perfect (had done), which does not have an analogous restriction. So, for example, there's nothing wrong with any of these:

She had returned.
She had returned recently.
She had returned within the previous week.
She had returned a few minutes earlier.
She had returned a long time earlier.
She had returned more than a week earlier.

0

"She has returned."
"When did this happen?"
"Five days ago."

Or:

She did return five days ago.

Or simply:

She returned five days ago.

Your version suggests that she may be in the habit of returning five days ago. Which doesn't make much sense, now, does it.

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.