I wanted to tell a friend that I registered for four classes after I met with my counselor.

is it wrong to have used the present perfect? My guess it is wrong since meeting with my counselor is a past action.

I have registered for four classes after meeting with my counselor.

Isn't the past perfect the right tense to be used?

I registered for four classes after I had met with my counselor.

Lastly, what if "meeting my counselor" was a noun, would it change anything?

I have registered for four classes after a meeting with my counselor.

  • 1
    Including a significantly alters the syntax, but has no real effect on the meaning. Using the past tense met might imply something less "formally arranged" than meeting (as a gerund or a simple noun), but in most contexts it would be more natural not to cast it in the perfect form (had met) - that's just pointless verbosity, since pure logic (and the word after) make the sequence of events obvious. – FumbleFingers Dec 22 '15 at 21:41
  • so the past tense is the right one? in both gerund and a simple noun cases? – Ghaith Alrestom Dec 22 '15 at 21:51
  • 1
    There's no real "right" and "wrong" here. All three of your versions are fine. It's just that your second one would be more likely to use simple past. Come to that, in most contexts a native speaker wouldn't bother pointlessly using present perfect have registered rather than simple past. But again, that's no reason to say the more complex phrasing is "wrong" (or even "not so good"). – FumbleFingers Dec 22 '15 at 21:57

All three of your examples above are grammatically correct. You could write one of the following instead, depending on what you prefer:

"I met with my counselor then registered for four classes."

"I met with my counselor and signed up for four classes."

If you want to avoid the double sound of "for four" in spoken conversation, then consider these:

"My counselor advised me to enroll in these four classes."

"I chose to register in four classes after meeting with my counselor."

  • Why is the use of present perfect not wrong? Meeting with my counselor is in the past. – Ghaith Alrestom Dec 22 '15 at 22:31
  • "Forming the Present Perfect. The present perfect of any verb is composed of two elements: the appropriate form of the auxiliary verb "to have" (present tense), plus the past participle of the main verb. The past participle of a regular verb is [the "base" verb] +ed, e.g. played, arrived, looked." (Quote is from: www.edufind.com/english-grammar/present-perfect/ ) Does this help? The past participle is what puts the matter in the past. Thank you for asking! – Mark Hubbard Dec 22 '15 at 22:46

OK On occasion, I have gone swimming right after eating.

not OK I have registered for four classes after I met with my advisor.

The difference between the two sentences is clear. The first expresses practice or habits, the second a discrete action.

Why is the second not OK?

We use the present perfect to express the idea that the action has some bearing upon the PRESENT state of affairs. When you say "after" you're "looking backwards", as it were, rather than following the past action as it walks up and sits at your feet, wagging its tail.

Are you all set for next semester?
--Yes, I've registered for four courses.

  • After a meeting with my counselor I registered for 4 classes.

  • After meeting with my counselor I registered for 4 classes.

Both sound most normal to me for everyday speech and should be fine.

Technically if you're intending to convey a certain passage of time between meeting and registering, maybe something like this:

After having met with my counselor I registered for 4 classes.

This means you probably made decisions after having taken the counselor's advice into consideration.

  • "After" in "after having" is redundant. – Nathan Tuggy Dec 22 '15 at 21:59
  • I don't think moving the dependent clause to the front is relevant to OP's question, and I see no reason to suppose that the explicit use of a verb rather than a gerund/noun has any implications for the time between meeting and registering. – FumbleFingers Dec 22 '15 at 22:00
  • ok thanks. is my first attempt to answer this ELL group. sure can also say "I registered for 4 classes after meeting with my counselor" very close to how the OP had put it. just trying to help. – user27970 Dec 22 '15 at 22:20

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