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I started watching that show a few months ago. Best decision I've ever made.

I started watching that show a few months ago. Best decision I ever made.

What's the difference between the two sentences meaning wise? Is the I've and I just a difference between American English, and British English, I read it somewhere that Americans oftentimes don't use have in such cases as the one used in the sentences above?

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In terms of the information a listener would extract I don't think that there is much, if any, practical difference between the two.

Grammatically, the first example uses the present perfect tense, in which making the decision [to watch the show] occurred at an unspecified point in the past and may still have relevance in the present. The second example uses the past indicative tense but does not specify a point in time any more than the first example and does not suggest direct relevance to the present.

I personally would prefer the first example in cases where I am still watching the show or otherwise currently engaging with it in some way, and the second in a case where I've watched every episode and no longer engage with the show in any way. However, if I were trying to express those ideas I would not rely on verb tense alone like this to convey my meaning.

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  • I think your opening statement is even more true in a case like this one, where "best decision ever" is really more hyperbole than an accurate rank ordering of life decisions.
    – J.R.
    May 23, 2016 at 19:08

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