The present perfectThe present perfect – used to refer to a situation set at some indefinite time within a period beginning in the past and leading up to the present.3 major types of the present perfect:I) The STATE PRESENT PERFECTII) The EVENT PRESENT PERFECTIII) The HABITUAL PRESENT PERFECT
The state present perfectI) The STATE PRESENT PERFECT – used with stative verb senses to refer to a state that began in the past and extends to the present, and will perhaps continue in the future:(1) They have been unhappy for a long time.(2) We have lived in London for five years.(3) She has owned this house since her father died.(4) I’ve always liked her.
The event present perfectII) The EVENT PRESENT PERFECT – used with dynamic verb senses to refer to one or more events that have occurred at some time within a period leading up to the present.There are 2 subtypes:(a) the event or events are reported as news; usually they have occurred shortly before the present time:(5) The Democrats have won the election.(6) I’ve just got a new job.(7) There’s been a serious accident.
The event present perfect(b) the event or events occurred at some more remote time in the past, but the implicit time period that frames the event or events leads up to the present:(8) She has given an interview only once in her life (but she may yet give another interview).(9) Have you seen the new production of King Lear at the National Theatre? (You still can do so.)(10) All our children have had measles (and they are not likely to have it again).
The habitual present perfectIII) The HABITUAL PRESENT PERFECT –used with dynamic verb senses to refer to past events that repeatedly occur up to and including the present:(11) The magazine has been published every month (since 1975).(12) Socrates has influenced many philosophers (until now).
The present perfectThe present perfect does not normally occur with adverbials that indicate a specific point or period of time in the past:(13) I saw her a week ago. [simple past](14) *I have seen her a week ago. [present perfect]
The use of the present perfect forrecent events – resultative perfectThe use of the present perfect for recent events may imply that the result of the event still applies:(15) He’s broken his arm. (“His arm is broken”)(16) I’ve emptied the basket. (“The basket is empty”)(17) The train has arrived on Platform 4. (“The train is now on Platform 4”)
The simple past tense for recentevents in American EnglishThe simple past is often used in place of the present perfect for recent events, esp. in AmE:(18) I just got a new job.
Adverbials with the present perfectThese adverbials include:(a) the adverb since:(19) I haven’t seen him since.(b) prepositional phrases and clauses introduced by since:(20) I haven’t seen him since Monday.(21) I haven’t seen him since I met you.(c) the phrases till now, up to now, so far.
The present perfect with temporalsince-clausesA temporal since-clause generally requires the present perfect in the matrix clause (main clause) when the whole construction refers to a stretch of time up to (and potentially) including the present:(22) I have lost ten pounds since I started swimming.(23) Since leaving home, Larry has written to his parents just once.In AmE, and increasingly in informal BrE, nonperfect forms are commonly used in the matrix clauses – for example, lost instead of have lost in (22), and wrote instead of has written in (23).
The present perfect with temporalsince-clausesWhen the whole construction refers to a stretch of time up to (and potentially including) the present, the verb in the since-clause may be the simple past or the present perfect.The simple past is used when the since-clause refers to a point in time marking the beginning of the situation:(24) She has been talking since she was one year old.(25) Since I saw her last, she has dyed her hair.(26) Derek hasn’t stopped talking since he arrived.
The present perfect with temporalsince-clausesThe present perfect is used in both clauses when the since-clause refers to a period of time lasting to the present:(27) Max has been tense since he’s been taking drugs.(28) Since I have been here, I haven’t left my seat.(29) Since I’ve known Caroline, she has been interested in athletics.(30) I’ve had a dog ever since I’ve owned a house.(31) I’ve gone to concerts ever since I’ve lived in Edinburgh.
The perfect with temporal since-clausesWhen the whole period is set in past time, the past perfect or the simple past is used in both clauses:(32) Since the country (had) achieved independence, it (had) revised its constitution twice.(33) Since he had known/knew her, she had been/was a journalist.
The perfect with other temporalclausesWhen an after-clause or a when-clause refers to a sequence of two past events, the verb in the temporal clause may be in the past perfect, though it is more commonly in the simple past:(34) We ate our meal after/when we returned/had returned from the game.All four forms of these sentences are acceptable, and mean roughly the same.The only difference is that when and the simple past (probably the most popular choice here) suggests that the one event follows immediately on the other in sequence.
The perfect with other temporalclausesHowever, there may be a contrast when the subordinator is when if the predication in the when- clause is durative:(35) They walked out when I gave/had given the lecture.‘when I gave the lecture’ = means “as soon as I started giving the lecture” or “during the time I was giving the lecture”‘when I had given the lecture’ = means “after the lecture was over”
The perfect with other temporalclausesThe present perfect is common in temporal and conditional clauses when the clauses refer to a sequence of future events and when the accent is on the completion of the event:(36) When they’ve scored their next goal, we’ll go home.(37) As soon as I’ve retired, I’ll buy a cottage in the country.(38) After they have left, we can smoke.(39) If I’ve written the paper before Monday, I’ll call you.In each case, the simple present is a alternative.
The perfect with other temporalclauses Consider the following sentences, which seem to be equivalent in meaning: (40) I saw him before he saw me. (PAST SIMPLE + PAST SIMPLE) (41) I had seen him before he saw me. (PAST PERFECT + PAST SIMPLE) (42) I saw him before he had seen me. (PAST SIMPLE + PAST PERFECT) (43) I had seen him before he had seen me. (PAST PERFECT + PAST PERFECT) Sentence (42) appears to be paradoxical in that the second in the succession of events is marked with the past perfect. One explanation is that the before- clause in (42), and perhaps also in (43) is nonfactual, i.e. “He did not get a chance to see me”. But it is also possible that the meaning of the subordinator before has influenced the use of the past perfect as one of the choices of verb forms It is also possible that there is an analogy with the use of the past perfect in an after-clause.
The simple past vs. the presentperfectThe simple past must be used if the implicit time period does not reach up to the present moment:(44) She has given an interview only once in her life. vs. She gave an interview only once in her life. (She can give no more interview since she is dead)(45) Have you seen the new production of King Lear at the National Theatre? vs. Did you see the new production of King Lear at the National Theatre? (You can no longer do so, because the production has closed)
The future perfectIf will or shall is combined with the perfect infinitive, the resulting future perfect conveys the meaning “past in future”. The action expressed by the future perfect will be completed before another future event or action, or a stated time in the future.(46) By next week, they will have completed their contract.
The past perfectThe past perfect refers to s time earlier than another past time (secondary past). It may represent the past of the simple past, a tome earlier than that indicated by the simple past:(47) They had moved into the house before the baby was born.The simple past can often replace the past perfect in such cases, if the time-relationship is clear:(48) They moved into the house before the baby was born.
The past perfectThe past perfect may also represent the past of the present perfect:(49) She had owned the house since her parents died.(50) She has owned the hose since her parents died.(50) entails that she still owns the house, (49) implies that she does not own it now.
The past perfect The past perfect has special uses analogous to those for the simple past: In indirect speech constructions it indicates a backshift into the more remote past: (51) I told her the parcel had not arrived. The attitudinal past perfect refers more politely than the simple past to a present state of mind: (52) I had wondered whether you are/were free now. The hypothetical past perfect is used in certain subordinate clauses, especially if-clauses, to imply that the situation did not occur: (53) If I had been there, it would not have happened. (“I was not there”) (54) I wish I had been there. (“I was not there”) (Željela bih da sam bila tamo - rather rare; Da sam barem bila tamo – more frequent)
The past perfect To indicate the secondary past, B/S/C frequently employs the Perfekt modified by adverbials, mostly već, još, ranije, nekad(a) in the past time context: (55) Nothing so thrilling had happened there for years. (55a) Već se godinama ondje nije dogodilo ništa tako uzbudljivo. (56) I had not then acquired the technique that I have now. (56a) Tada još nisam stekao tehniku koju imam sada. (57) It was funny I had never noticed it. (57a) Čudno da to nikada ranije nisam primijetio. (58) He had been a butler in very good families. (58a) Nekad je bio sluga u vrlo dobrim porodicama. In all these examples the B/S/C Pluskvamperfekt (e.g. bijah/bjeh/bio sam sačuvao)is possible, with the exception of the last one because of the reluctance to use the verb biti as an auxiliary to itself (e.g. Nekad je bio bio or Nekada bijaše bio).