Questions tagged [perfect-constructions]

Perfect constructions employ a form of HAVE as an auxiliary and the past participle of a lexical verb to express past events as a current state.

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Canonical Post #2: What is the perfect, and how should I use it?

This is a Canonical Post, intended as a reference and resource for both Questioners and Answerers. The English “perfect” is deeply puzzling for learners. Nearly one Question in every twenty here asks ...
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“My boss was furious with me and I have been fired” vs. “My boss was furious with me and I was fired”

I have a question and I hope you can help me. I've been learning English for many years but I'm still struggling with the difference between simple past and present perfect. For example this sentence ...
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3answers
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Haven't {eaten / ate}?

While chatting with somebody, I first used haven't eaten, then I thought that it was wrong, and switched to haven't ate. Apparently, haven't ate is the one which is wrong. Can someone explain the ...
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4answers
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Shouldn't it be “HAVE been put on hold” instead of “HAD been put on hold”?

I'm studying TOEIC through a book published by ETS. As always, I was reading scripts and got stuck in one script. The repair of the 300-year-old building began nearly a decade ago but had been put ...
12
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7answers
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“I am finished” vs “I have finished”

What is the difference between "I am finished" and "I have finished"? For example, when finishing a task, should I say "I have finished" or "I am finished". Is there a difference in meaning?
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2answers
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When should I use “didn't” instead of “haven't”?

Is haven't supposed to mean something I may still do and didn't not? Can I use didn't for something I might still do?
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“Carrie has arrived at the airport for two hours.” - Is this sentence grammatically correct?

I'm helping my friend with his English exercise related to the simple past & present perfect tenses: Rewrite each of the following sentences in another way so that it means almost the same as ...
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Is “I have been to Italy two years ago for 2 months” correct?

When someone asked me "Do you like to go on another/foreign country trip?" or "Have you experienced to go another country?" Can I answer using one of these: "Yes, I do. I have been to Rome in Italy ...
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4answers
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Tense when saying “This is the first time” you've been somewhere

I'm very confused about tenses. I have examples in two different situations here. Situation 1: I went to New York two months ago and was talking to someone about it. A. This is the first time I'...
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4answers
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“I would have liked [to have seen / to see] John …”

I've come across the following sentence on a BBC Learning English page: I would have liked to have seen John before he left for Canada, but Mary didn't want to. I was just wondering can we ...
8
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1answer
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What does this perfect tense intend to say?

Quirrell's voice trailed away. Harry was remembering his trip to Diagon Alley - how could he have been so stupid? He'd seen Quirrell there that very day, shaken hands with him in the Leaky Cauldron. (...
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How can an event prove by itself?

I looked up in this online dictionary for the word, endeavour, http://www.englantisuomi.com/en/dictionary-english-finnish/endeavour but the example sentence even made me more confused. Here is the ...
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2answers
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Using “when” with Present Perfect

I have never heard that we could use "when" with Perfect tenses especially with Present Perfect before. We use Past Simple when we are talking about the time. But today I have found one example: ...
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2answers
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Perfect infinitive

I thought we can use perfect infinitive construction to talk about plans which didn't happen. For instance: I was to have started work last week, but I changed my mind. But what about that ...
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1answer
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Can I say “something is happened to my phone”?

Can I say "something is happened to my phone"? The word 'is' in the phrase is showing still the problem 'is' existing and affecting me not to use my phone, no calling. But since it happened before ...
6
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1answer
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“Would have + past participle” in The Scarlet Letter

From The Scarlet Letter: Amongst any other population, or at a later period in the history of New England, the grim rigidity that petrified the bearded physiognomies of these good people would ...
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Is “If he had come tomorrow, I would have gone.” grammatically correct

Is this sentence grammatically correct? If he had come tomorrow, I would have gone. I am trying to convey that He will not come and I can't go. Does it convey the same meaning? Can "If +had ...
6
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2answers
523 views

“Have never won” v/s “had never won”

In a book I found a sentence like this: The 2010 FIFA World Cup culminated in an epic final with two teams that have never won the World Cup. I'm wondering why have never won is used instead of ...
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“read and accepted” or “read and accept”?

Is this phrase correct? By purchasing this product, you certify that you have read and accepted the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions... Is it just me or it feels like "read and accepted" ...
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1answer
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“I saw him before he had seen me” - paradoxical past perfect with before

Just saw this sentence in Quirke's Grammar: I saw him before he had seen me. full context: in 15.27 he says The last example "Sally stopped Ted before he had a change to reply' doesn't use the ...
5
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1answer
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How to ask a person how long he has been working in an office?

Context : Let say, I have just joined to a company and I want to ask my new friend how long he has been working here. Using Present perfect: How long have you worked here ? Or using Present ...
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2answers
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Don't speak until I [tell, told, have told or what?] you?

I've one or two questions.. How [should or could?] you say this sentence? Don't speak until I [tell, told, have told or what?] you.
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He IS come - John 16:8

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment -John 16:8-18 (King James Version) I could not understand the use of is in this. Also, I have observed ...
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2answers
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What tense to use for an event that was no longer valid?

You know how I say I told my friend what had happened before she came to class. Above is a time line in red. Time goes to the right. Its arrow is the present. "came" is in the past, a little back in ...
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1answer
298 views

present perfect vs past perfect vs simple past

The dancers have rehearsed the ballet for almost three hours. They have displayed new CDs since Friday morning. She hasn't talked to her brother since he broke her cell phone. At first glance ...
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1answer
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Past simple or past perfect in a subordinate clause

Could you please have a look at this paragraph: Last Friday I arranged to meet my boyfriend at a restaurant. I arrived first and because it was pouring with rain, I went inside. After an hour ...
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Future pluperfect

Has anyone encountered the future pluperfect before?? I knew a dishonest landlord who knew a dishonest constable. She hadn't yet served a deadbeat tenant with legal notice, but she said "don't worry,...
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2answers
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What is this “would have had to”?

This stranger talked to me. Usually, I would have had to think something bad would happen. But I followed him. (One Day in NY) BY Pat Mathew What is this "would have had to"?
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2answers
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Present Perfect Tense Asking

I am a beginner for English grammar. I read following paragraph in my grammar book. I got your long email about two weeks ago and have been trying to find time to write you back ever since. I have ...
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2answers
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Is the phrase “are you come” in this sentence correct?

A man made big noise to rouse a Giant and the Giant rushed from his cave, crying: " You incorrigible villain, are you come here to disturb my rest?" This is from English Fairy Tales. I wonder ...
3
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3answers
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How about “When I saw Debbie, she had played golf”?

Oxford Guide to English Grammar; John Eastwood; Oxford University Press 1994-09 Page 94 Compare the past continuous and past perfect continuous. When I saw Debbie, she was playing golf. (I ...
3
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1answer
910 views

“If I had known it will be cheaper, I would buy/have bought it tomorrow”

I bought something today. But now I found out it will be cheaper tomorrow. Which of the following alternatives is grammatical? If I had known it will be cheaper, I would buy it tomorrow. If I ...
3
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1answer
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How to use “never” with Present simple tense

I learned that we could use "never" with present perfect tense about experiences in someone’s life. However, I don’t understand when we use never with other tenses like present simple tense. I never ...
3
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1answer
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Complicated sentences in past perfect regarding hypothetical situations with reflection on the past?

Would have had to have been doing, e.g.: For him to have become a threat in the teachers eyes, he would have had to have been exhibiting severely bad behavior all the time. Would have had to be ...
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3answers
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Time expression in Present/Past Perfect tense

My questions are about being able to use a past time expression in a Present/Past Perfect tense. An excerpt from: http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/presentperfect.html We use the Present Perfect ...
3
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1answer
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Can I use present perfect in this context?

After finishing my homework I will check for the mistakes that I have made I'm skeptical about if I can use present perfect in this context and besides with conjunction can present perfect be used ...
3
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1answer
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At completing vs at having completed

Here is an example sentence from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/elation There's a sense of elation at having completed a race of such length. Is the part of this sentence “at ...
3
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1answer
985 views

Please explain the difference between these two sentences to me?

This package was supposed to have been delivered yesterday. This package was supposed to be delivered yesterday. Please explain the difference. And my doubt is generally we use simple past ...
3
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3answers
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Meaning difference between using “is” and “has been”

What is meaning difference in the below sentences? Once your ID card number has been noted, there’s no way of escaping the fine. and Once your ID card number is noted, there’s no way of ...
3
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2answers
55 views

Present perfect and since

I learned that present perfect is used with “since” when we talk about duration, something began in the past and continues to the present, with non continuous verbs, like: I have known her since I ...
3
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2answers
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Why is the present perfect simple used in this sentence (and not the present perfect continuous)

I'm looking for some advice on why this sentence (from a FCE book) is in the the present perfect simple: I have spent ages preparing for the party. This sentence requires the use of the present ...
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4answers
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The use of the Future Perfect Continuous Passive in 'The apples will have been being eaten by him'

The apples will have been being eaten by him. This sentence above was offered in my English class as an example of the future perfect continuous tense. This seems to me too awkward to be correct. ...
3
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1answer
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Is a past-tense *when* clause acceptable with a present perfect main clause?

He has helped me when I was lonely. Is this past tense ok?
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1answer
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“of all students, A has the highest” vs “A has the hightest marks of any students…”

We have a common usage in English like "Of all the students, Alice has got the highest marks in physics". So far so good. And I have always liked this usage. However, I have recently seen and heard ...
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2answers
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John has spoken to his uncle just now or John spoke…?

Recently I found a pair of sentences in a grammar practice book: John has just spoken to his uncle. John spoke to his uncle just now. The sentences are almost the same. They only differ in the ...
3
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2answers
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Future Pluperfect Tense

I was reading this question Future pluperfect and was really interested in how real is the Future Pluperfect tense. I found this information: This is from "The Future Pluperfect: Double Tenses in ...
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2answers
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Difference between Simple Past and Past Perfect

What is the difference in meaning between the two examples below? When she returned home from office, she was shocked to see that her husband and daughter were missing. (Simple Past) When she ...
3
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1answer
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When 'past modal+have+past participle' accompanies with past tense in a sentence, can it be before the past or at the past?

Hermione, however, had more on her mind than the Sorcerer's Stone. She had started drawing up study schedules and colorcoding all her notes. Harry and Ron wouldn't have minded,[A1] but she kept ...
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3answers
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Is added or has been added

What is right way to write or speak? I am a developer and want to add message to my application once the record has been added to the database. So I am confused about the right way to write/speak ...
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4answers
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Past action but present perfect?

I know all about that film because I have seen it twice. In this sentence the person says they saw the same film twice in the past. Then why is the present perfect used instead of past perfect? Can ...