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present perfect vs past simple Hi, Is it true to use present simple when we are giving some news about a fact happened in the past? for example I ask a receptionist at a terminal whether my brother has left with a bus or not and he answers: "according to our records he has left the terminal at 6 o'clock" is it true? or should it be "according to our records he left the terminal at 6 o'clock". How about giving news about things that have happened very long ago? for example can we say in a science article "according to new findings, this galaxy has been formed 3 billion years ago while it was thought formed 1 billion years ago, before". Thank you! M.
Dec 5, 2014 9:31 PM
Answers · 2
"According to our records he has left the terminal at 6 o'clock" Is it right? No, it isn't. You can't use the present perfect with a stated past time. or should it be "According to our records he left the terminal at 6 o'clock" ? Yes. Likewise, '3 billion years ago' is a point in the past, so you cannot use the present perfect with this phrase - you have to use the past. "This galaxy was formed 3 billion years ago." The rule is very simple: never use a present perfect when you state a past time.
December 6, 2014
This can be tricky.. Let me try to give an explanation. In your first example, the correct response is "he left at 6:00." Simple past. Tells when action happened. If it happened at an unspecified time, you can use either "left" or "has left. "He has left the terminal" or "He left the terminal." "He has left" stresses that it happened in the recent past. In the second example, you write, "the galaxy was formed ..." Or "the galaxy formed" . Both simple past. And you can't use "has been formed" because it happened long ago.
December 5, 2014
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