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Hello all,

It is well known that in BrE the Present Perfect tense is used more frequently than in AmE. I wanted to ask whether the following two sentences should use Present Perfect in British English:

1. Who has just taken my newspaper?
2. Who has broken the window?

Thank you in advance,
Anton 
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Comments  
Both sentences are about something that happened recently and not at a specific time, so the present perfect is fine. The first is very clear because of the word 'just'; the second could go either way, depending on how long ago the window was broken.
Ant_222
It is well known that in BrE the Present Perfect tense is used more frequently than in AmE. I wanted to ask whether the following two sentences should use Present Perfect in British English:


Hi,

I don't know where you have picked up this notion: "It is well known that in BrE the Present Perfect tense is used more frequently than in AmE."

This is absolutely false.

If a situation calls for present perfect, regardless whether it's in Britain or in the US, the same grammar rules still applies.
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dimsumexpressIf a situation calls for present perfect, regardless whether it's in Britain or in the US, the same grammar rules still applies.
I was told there is this difference:

American: I just saw your sister / I've just seen your sister.
British: I've just seen your sister.

American: I already ate. / I've already eaten.
British: I've already eaten.

But I am not 100% sure. Maybe in the UK now the simple past can be used like in the US? Maybe young people have started to use it that way as well? I don't know.
Ant_222It is well known that in BrE the Present Perfect tense is used more frequently than in AmE.
The difference in frequency is probably miniscule, however.

CJ
Hi Kooyeen,

Perhaps, my statement needs to be expanded a little more to avoid misconception.

If A said: People are raving about the new movie "Avatar"; have you seen it?

B may say: It was very entertaining. I saw it yesterday. Or, I've just seen it (without any time indicator).

If the answer is present prefect oriented, then the present perfect rules must be observed regardless of which side of the Atlantic one is on. One can't not (by straight rules) say "I have just seen it yesterday". That's what I had intended to reflect in my earlier post.
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Ant_2221. Who has just taken my newspaper?
2. Who has broken the window?
Well, I for one am hoping that one of our British cousins comments on Anton's specificsentences. To my American ear, the wording of sentence number 1 doesn't strike me as something that is very likely to be produced by an American mouth. Emotion: zip it

And if someone had just now noticed that the window is broken (number 2), I'd expect the question to be "Who broke the window?" on this side of the pond.

We use the present perfect often enough in AmE, but personally, I wouldn't expect present perfect to be used in the particular sentences that Anton posted.
Maybe I didn't made my thoughts clear enough, so thank you, dimsumexpress and CalifJim for your corrections. I should have said that there are cases where AmE allows both Past Simple and Present, and BrE requires Present Perfect.

Also my initial opinion had been in exact agreement with yours, Yankee, but it wavered when my fried told me his teacher's words, so I decided to consult you.

And I join Yankee in her desire to hear the opinion of the BrE speakers.

Anton
The problem is that grammar books make it sound like it's mandatory, and they insist on telling students that the present perfect is used in such cases. I'm interested in this too, because I've been wondering whether there are really any grammar differences between BrE and AmE.
I remember grammar books (which always deal with BrE) used to say that you must use the present perfect with "just", so I guess the first example was what they wanted you to say: "Who's just taken my newspaper?"

I'll take a look at my infamous grammar books (Swan's grammar, for example) and I'll let you know if I find anything interesting (or shocking).
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