The present perfect in American English (AE).
<<Therefore, if you say "Did you see the Monet exhibit", it is normally over, right? >>
Not necessarily, because many people don't really keep track of how long exhibits are open.
An example that might be even more common: you can say both "Have you seen that movie (named specifically)?" or "Did you see that movie?" regardless of whether or not the movie is still in theaters.
You can also say "Have you seen Mapplethorpe's work?" regardless of the fact that Mapplethorpe is now dead and I don't know when the last time I saw an exhibit of his was; but the question is still valid.
<An example that might be even more common: you can say both "Have you seen that movie (named specifically)?" or "Did you see that movie?" regardless of whether or not the movie is still in theaters. >
If the film is still in theaters and you want to suggest that the listener goes to see it, only the present perfect form is used in BrEng.
<You can also say "Have you seen Mapplethorpe's work?" regardless of the fact that Mapplethorpe is now dead and I don't know when the last time I saw an exhibit of his was; but the question is still valid. >
That's the same. "Have you seen Mapplethorpe's work?" "No? You should."
In BrEng, only the present perfect works there.
Using the present perfect implies that you can still see the movie or Mapplethorpe's work. Using the past simple implies that you cannot or probably won't. This is true for both American and British English. It's all in the mind of the speaker, usually.
<Using the past simple implies that you cannot or probably won't. >
? Did you see Mapplethorpe's work when he was alive?
Thank you so much Mxsmanic for this explenation ,but I want more and more explanation about this tense because I studied alot but so far I can not practice on it.
The professor of mine so far can not be understandable to me . I bet they know how to use the present perfect in their own mind, but they can not get us the correct use for that tense. they say we can use it when we talking about act happened in the past and still continue to the present!! OK..For example, If we said <John went to the movie. (and he still there until the moment we talking about him).How can we join between these two acts into one act / sentence??
I think it will be <John has gone to the movie!!!!!!!!!!!What does that exactly mean ???.
Me and my friends are in English Language major at the university. It was my dream to study this language and we all enjoy ..:)Although a few of obstacles we have intention to drop them and get well with your helps .I invited all my friends to visit this site to learn more like me...
The distinction between present perfect and past simple is difficult to explain in terms of rules because the rules are quite complex. I usually explain it in terms of the speaker's perceptions and via specific examples that illustrate the different ways in which the tenses can be contrasted.
If someone says "John went to the movie," it tells me several things. It tells me that John is not with the speaker, for example. It implies that the speaker probably does not expect to encounter John while he is at the movie. It implies that nothing the speaker is doing right now is connected to John's trip to the movie.
If someone says "John has gone to the movie," that, too, tells me several things. It implies that John's trip to the movie is recent. It implies that something about John's action is connected to some present state or action in the speaker's mind (for example, she may be planning to join him, or she may be describing the reason for his absence in the present, as when answering the telephone).
In many cases, the choice between the two is almost arbitrary. In isolation, the present perfect sounds more recent, and/or implies that something may have happened more than once in the past, and implies a connection with the present somehow, but in many contexts these distinctions are unimportant. If someone answers the phone and is asked about John, she will probably say "He has gone to the movie," but she might also very well say "He went to the movie," particularly if she is American (Americans have a narrower perception of "present time" than do many other English speakers).
When in doubt, use the past simple. If you are talking about something else in the present tense, use the present perfect: "I can't ask him now, because he has gone to the movie." Even here, though, you can get away with a past simple (particularly when speaking to Americans).
<It implies that the speaker probably does not expect to encounter John while he is at the movie.>
Who is "he" there? John or the speaker?
<It implies that something about John's action is connected to some present state or action in the speaker's mind (for example, she may be planning to join him, or she may be describing the reason for his absence in the present, as when answering the telephone). >
That also works for:
"John went to the movie at six" It last till nine, so I think I'll join him."
Prsent relevance there too.
The "present relevance" explanation given by most ESL teachers is a weak point of their teaching.
It's the same to with the "recent activity" explanation:
John has bought a coat for me.
John has bought a coat for me in the past.
There have been many geological changes in the past two million years.
I still haven't come across a good explanation of the present perfect from any ESL teacher.
Mxsmanic Tue Jan 10, 2006
<Similarly, if a woman says "I've had two children," things are going well, but if she says "I had two children," it might be a good idea to change the subject.>
Can u explain that more clearly?
"I had two children" means they're probably dead or she's estranged from them. Otherwise she would say "I've had two children" which sounds more positive.
I thank u so much Guest..
You help me lots.
You know so far I did not use the sites u gave me because I have test ,so I must study hard as u know:)
I promise u I will check it later because I am not enough good at Listening Skills It is hard to me .
Guest is correct. A woman who uses the past simple considers her children to be past history; this very strongly implies that she doesn't see them anymore, and unless she's elderly and telling the story of her life, it also implies that something might have happened to them (they might be dead), which is a good reason to change the subject.
In a snippet of dialog from the movie _Airport_, one hears the following:
A: He was … he did excavations for buildings.
B: You said "was"—you mean he's not in that business anymore?
Here, the simple fact that A used the past simple implies to B that the person being discussed no longer works. A present tense (including a present perfect tense) in this position would imply that he still works, or at least it would leave that possibility open. The past simply very strongly implies that something has changed.
As for "John went to the movie at six," it uses the past simple because it specifically identifies a point in past time, which implies that the action or state is fully in the past. One normally always uses the past simple when a specific time in the past is mentioned (there are very rare exceptions).
Saying "John has gone to the movie at six" is possible, but very unusual, and it also makes it sound as though this action has occurred more than once, or may occur again in the future. Since this particular incident is a one-time occurrence, the past simple is more appropriate.
Eventually you will learn all the subtleties of these two tenses. It's hard to memorize specific rules by rote, although it does accelerate learning a little bit. But you really have to use the tenses in real-world situations with substantial context in order to get a good idea of which one is right for which situations. Problems with tenses are often like this in many languages, when the tenses in the target language don't line up perfectly with the tenses in the student's native language.
< The past simply very strongly implies that something has changed. >
"I took a taxi last week. The driver was Russian and couldn't speak a word of English."
The past simple describes things that are isolated in the past. When the action or state under discussion is one that normally continues indefinitely, the past simple implies a change or end to the action or state.
"I was pretty then," implies that the speaker isn't pretty now, othewise she would probably say "I'm pretty."
Using the past simple to narrate past events is natural and simply corresponds to the fact that these events are completely in the past now.
We have not " present perfect " in Arabic , we always use past tense with adverbs to show the time period .