What is the difference in grammar and meaning between these two sentences?

1: The book that he borrowed is in his room.

2: The book that he has borrowed is in his room.

I personally think, which I might be wrong, that the first sentence is talking about simple past and it implies on he borrowed the book in past. The latter one is talking about present perfect and it implies on a thing that started in the past and it's still happening until. So he borrowed the book in the past and he still has it.

I don't know if I'm wrong or not.

  • 2
    As far as I'm aware, the "is in his room" makes it clear that the borrowing of the book is an ongoing action, so "that he borrowed" and "that he has borrowed" have the same meaning in this context. There is a subtle difference to me in that if someone said "that he has borrowed" I would assume that the borrowing took place a short time ago, while in the former case I'd assume he'd had the book for a while. Mar 13, 2016 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


Let's say he borrowed the book from the library yesterday. Referring to that event, you could say:

The book that he borrowed is in his room. He found it at the library yesterday.

However, what if we are talking about a book that is being borrowed for a period of time? Then you could say:

The book that he has borrowed is in his room. It must be returned by Friday.

Context is everything here. Meaning, how "borrowing" relates to surrounding actions in time.

  • This is a bit off topic, but is the "has borrowed" equivalent to the french imperfect tense? Mar 13, 2016 at 22:23
  • @MorellaAlmann We call it Present Perfect tense. Sorry but I don't know any French.
    – user3169
    Mar 13, 2016 at 22:30
  • So I wasn't wrong. Some of my friends said that the two contexts have totally the same meaning. Mar 14, 2016 at 11:06

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