Skip to main content
31 votes
Accepted

I ___(to read) your book. It's fantastic. I'll finish it tonight

The verb read has two different pronunciations, its present simple form /riːd/ and its past simple form /red/. Neither tense belongs to the sample sentence a) I read your book [at the moment]. It's ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 27.8k
28 votes

Is there a difference between "should not have done something" and "needn't have done something"?

In general, "should not" and "need not" have significantly different meanings. "Should not" indicates that it is bad to do a particular thing. For example, you should not drive a car too fast, ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 5,950
12 votes

Is the present perfect ok in "We have seen them in 2011"?

The basic 'rule' is that a present perfect cannot be modified by a temporal expression which does not include the present (let's call this an NPT for 'non-present temporal'). Under this 'rule' you are ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
7 votes

Is the present perfect ok in "We have seen them in 2011"?

The present perfect may be acceptable to some speakers of Standard English as it is used here, but not to others. We very commonly use the present perfect to talk about finished past events that ...
Jim Reynolds's user avatar
  • 9,997
7 votes
Accepted

Using have gone to / been to / been in

Your understanding of the three phrases is not quite correct: has gone to - there or on his way to; has been to - someone has been there but he is on his way back; OR someone has been there at some ...
Lumos's user avatar
  • 238
7 votes

I ___(to read) your book. It's fantastic. I'll finish it tonight

If you've already read the book, then "I'll finish it tonight" makes no sense. This is why neither 2 ("read") nor 3 ("have read") can be the correct answer. Answer 4 can ...
Martha's user avatar
  • 5,521
6 votes

I ___(to read) your book. It's fantastic. I'll finish it tonight

To me, the sentence "I read [present tense] your book" makes it sound like you have an ongoing habit of reading the book, and you don't have any plans to quit that habit. In particular, it ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 5,950
5 votes

Is there a difference between "should not have done something" and "needn't have done something"?

As Phil14 mentions in his comment, "you shouldn't have ..." has a note of reprimand, but this can vary with context: You shouldn't have brought donuts, I'm on a diet. (mild reprimand, equivalent ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.4k
4 votes

" Have to " vs "Have had to "

"have had to" and "had had to" are the perfect forms of "have to"/"has to"/"had to", so it operates very similarly to the difference between the simple and perfect in other cases: I have to eat ...
eques's user avatar
  • 4,485
4 votes

Is there a difference between "should not have done something" and "needn't have done something"?

This is fairly confusing in that "should not do" and "need not do" are not equivalent negations of "should" and "need". "Need not do" is as you would expect, the opposite of "need to do" - "not ...
Chris Petheram's user avatar
3 votes

What does this sentence imply?

As always, the choice of the perfect does not necessarily have a specific meaning. It has the general meaning "This is a past event with present relevance", but the specific kind of present ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.9k
3 votes

Using have gone to / been to / been in

Certainly "Have you ever gone to... " is acceptable, but deciding whether to use "been" or "gone" can be a matter of context or personal preference. "I have never gone... " is the same as above. ...
Elliott Levi's user avatar
3 votes

How to say in correct tense

The auxiliary have is always followed by a past participle, never any other form, so I have starting is never grammatical. I have started going to the gym. is grammatical, and completely natural, ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.9k
3 votes

A question regarding usage "by the time"?

The first sentence is ok. The second one is unappropiate because the second clause should bear an action in the future. I started to do my task at 5 a.m It takes about 2 hours to finish it. You will ...
yazmine's user avatar
  • 41
3 votes

When should we use “Perfect infinitive” instead of “infinitive” in passive voice?

With should, the past infinitive makes it counter-factual "It should be repaired" is making a demand for the future, and says nothing about the past. "It should have been repaired" is saying that ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.9k
3 votes

Can we use present perfect with a specific time?

You can use present perfect with "today", because "today" hasn't finished yet, so it isn't regarded as past time. Yesterday is past time, so it requires past simple.
anouk's user avatar
  • 3,954
3 votes

How about "When I saw Debbie, she had played golf"?

"When I saw Debbie, she had played golf." This implies that she has, at some point in her life, played golf. Not that she has recently finished as you seem to expect.
Omegastick's user avatar
  • 1,132
3 votes
Accepted

seemed to leave or seemed to have left?

The meaning of "seem to be" is about making a judgement about something. "He seems to be happy" means "I think he is happy, based on my judgement of his appearance". The ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
2 votes

Why is the past perfect used here? It doesn't seem to refer to two past actions...

You say What we are having here is one verb. There seems to be a relatively common belief among ESL students that when you use past perfect, the two relevant verbs have to be in the same sentence....
Peter Shor 's user avatar
2 votes

Have I had known about the lack of security

The correct form is, "Had I known (about the lack of security), ...". It requires the same tense as the if clause "If I had known (about the lack of security), ..." This type of conditional ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 1,866
2 votes

How to describe one event that preceded the other with "was" or "had been"?

Some examples: "He was happy, but had been sad not long before due to the death of his puppy." "She was in line for the concert by 5pm and had been standing in the cold for hours." "The clerk was ...
user45962's user avatar
2 votes

Which is correct, "Humans haven't walked" or "didn't walk"?

The difference between your two examples is the difference between the perfect and preterite(simple past) tenses. The main semantic difference is, as detailed by the following article, one of time-...
BladorthinTheGrey's user avatar
2 votes

Is there a difference between "should not have done something" and "needn't have done something"?

I think there is a little difference between them. 1) You shouldn't have worried. It means that there were some reasons to worry but those weren't enough. 2) You needn't have worried. It means ...
dz420's user avatar
  • 952
2 votes

Future Perfect and Future Continuous with present reference

The second speaker's will does not signify futurity; it is an epistemic use, marking the clause as the speaker's confident inference of probability from knowledge of the subject and the circumstances. ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
2 votes

Will be done vs will have been done

The difference between "will have been done" and "will be done" is the same as the difference between "will have done" and "will do". The difference is active versus passive. 1) The work will have ...
Lambie's user avatar
  • 46.5k
2 votes

Can we use present perfect with a specific time?

I formulate the rule so: "The time phrase in clause employing the present perfect cannot exclude the present". "Yesterday" doesn't work with present perfect. "Last week" doesn't work either. Both of ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k
2 votes
Accepted

How about "When I saw Debbie, she had played golf"?

The past perfect would not be absolutely incorrect there, even if the intended meaning is that she had just come from the golf course when you saw her. But because of its aspectual sense of "achieved ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible