I was reading a textbook (Connect 3: it's a student book) in which there are some time expressions for simple past among which I found 'this week'.

I always thought 'this week' must be used with present perfect and avoided making a sentence or question like 'What did you do this week?'

Now I'm confused by 'this week' as a time expression for simple past and unfortunately there is no example provided.

Does this sentence sound OK with a native speaker?

I finished my homework this week.

Can we use 'this week' with simple past?

  • I am curious, why did you think it was incompatible with the present perfect? Mar 6 '16 at 20:18
  • Since the only sources I have access to are movies, grammar and vocabulary books, I wasn't sure if this is ok to say that. In grammar books I've seen this explanation that "if the time you're talking about is unfinished, use present perfect".
    – Yuri
    Mar 6 '16 at 21:36
  • I figured well when we say 'this week' we're talking about a period of time that isn't finished yet, so present perfect is right. I always thought of other options like 'last Tuesday, yesterday, three hours ago' instead of saying 'this week'. That's why When I saw 'this week' as a time expression for simple past, I got alittle confused and insecure about what I know!
    – Yuri
    Mar 6 '16 at 21:36
  • 1
    Well, that's a really good thought, but keep in mind the tense refers to the action, not "last week" so if you have finished your homework, than use simple past. Mar 6 '16 at 21:40
  • That's a simplification, of course, and youve got some great answers below. Mar 6 '16 at 21:41

Yes, these can make sense.

What did you do this week?

You wouldn't generally expect people to say "What did you do this week?" on a Monday morning. But if you are speaking with someone on a Friday night--or a Saturday or Sunday--the mention of "this week" in the past generally refers to the "work week" (Monday thru Friday).

But it could also be used with something recurring, where the recurring thing being discussed has finished...but you are still "in the same week" to refer to it as "this week".

Imagine you are taking a class that has a session every Wednesday. You could say "I just finished class" and someone could ask "What did you do this week?"--meaning "What happened during your class in this week's session?"

I finished my homework this week.

Imagine that you had not finished your homework for one of those classes you have sessions for once a week.

Now it is the next class. As you hand your homework in, you might tell the teacher "I finished my homework this week!" (to say you did a better job...this time).

  • Phew, that's a relief. I thought only 'I've done...' is correct because this week is an unfinished period of time, but it got clear by your good examples. Thank you both 😊
    – Yuri
    Mar 6 '16 at 10:02
  • HostileFork, could you please tell me when to use the present perfect here, in 'I have finished my homework this week'. How different is it from the simple past example? Please tell me the possible scenarios of using the present perfect tense here. Thank you.
    – Policewala
    May 8 '16 at 16:58
  • @Policewala If you have a new question it is best to ask a new question, rather than comment on an answer from an old post. There are a lot of good reasons to do that--not the least being that the person who posted the other answer might not be around anymore. In your new question, if you think an old question is relevant then you can reference it by pasting a link to it. But be sure in your new question to explain in depth what you are confused about, specifically, that the previous question did not answer. May 8 '16 at 20:26
  • I agree with what you say Hostile. But I thought because you had answered the question, you could also answer a follow up one, too. If you see nobody addressed "This week I have done my homework". So I thought of asking you. Please answer this time here. I feel you can address it well, hence my pleas to you. Please!
    – Policewala
    May 10 '16 at 6:20
  • @Policewala Reason (2) would be "I might not know" and reason (3) would be "other people won't be able vet the answer". Quickly, to me, "This week I have done my homework" sounds grammatically legal and would be synonymous with "This week I did my homework", though it sounds a bit more awkward in isolation...but perhaps just because "I have done" is more formal-sounding than "I've done". Which you'd choose would probably be based on making a longer sentence agree more. If that's not enough ask a new question! May 10 '16 at 22:04

Both of these sentences can be acceptable:

  1. I finished my homework this week.
  2. I've finished my homework this week.

This seems rather confusing, but the subtle differences of the present perfect and the simple past can be seen by where each one can't be used: As both HostileFork and Ustanak stated, the present perfect is used when referring to a time period which includes the present whereas the simple past is used when referring to a time period which is "over". Therefore, notice:

  1. I went to Bangalore in 2009.
  2. *I've gone to Bangalore in 2009.

The second example above is unacceptable because, even though 2009 refers to a long stretch of time, it is still a single reference point in time which is now "over". Notice the differences in these examples:

  1. I went camping this week.
  2. I've gone camping this week.

Here, both are again acceptable, but the meaning is very different: In the first example, the speaker went camping and is now done with camping (They're "back" from camping); In the second, however, the speaker is actually still camping, e.g. they're telling someone on the phone that they're currently camping (and so e.g. they aren't available to go to the movies). Notice, again, that e.g. *I've gone camping last week is wrong for the same reasons that the example with 2009 is.

Likewise, notice where the simple past can't be used:

  1. I've played the saxophone for a year now.
  2. *I played the saxophone for a year now.

The second example here is unacceptable because the word now means that the time being referred to is ongoing and so, as explained above, the simple past should be used instead, as in the first example.

  • If you intend to use the past simple in this case, as said, it works, but you're considering that a part of the week is clearly over. The present perfect is more natural when you talk of the whole period up to the present and the past simple if you're refering to a finished time of that period. Compare:

    I finished my work this week. (Earlier this week.)
    I've finished my work this week. (The whole week up to now.)

  • However, you can turn an unfinished time expression into a finished one. For instance:

    I didn't see X today. (There's no more possibility to see X this day, hence today turns into a finished time expression.)


Yes. That sentence is okay. It doesn't sound strange.

It might only be considered strange in that it is rather vague for something that has a short time frame. Homework is normally done over-night, or over the weekend. A longer term thing, set by a teacher, would more likely be called an "assignment".

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