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Hello everybody!

I was wondering about past simple and present perfect lately. It was a long path of understanding those 2 tenses, I think I finally understand the meaning of "context" that can occur or not.

When there is a context (last year, since, for) then the sentence has a certain tense.
But without it I can only judge it in my own perspective, for example:

- I borrowed it from my friend (emphasizing the past action of borrowing in the past, even if he/she shows in the present this particular item he/she is going to use or something, still he/she is relating to past action)

- I've borrowed it from my friend (emphasizing the present situation as well as mentioning the past action he/she did but is still relating the present situation that he/she is having this item and he/she can use it.)

I don't know if my thoughts are reliable, but I'm summaring the whole knowlage I've gained till now (I don't know if "till now" is grammatically correct, if not then I'm sorry)
I want to use this summary (of course if it's correct) as a message for those who doesn't understand the difference without the context like (for, since, last year, etc.)

What do you think about it? Oh and I want to ask you a favor as well. What do you guys think about the grammatical side of my "small thought"?

PS.
There are also some verbs that doesn't suit my thoughts for example "I promised" it's more a past action that the promise was stated, but if I have to think about it in the present perfect version, then I could say that "I've promised" can state that what he is doing right now is because of this promise. But I think that some verbs doesn't suit it.

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Here is a good direct comparison:

https://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/grammar/present_perfect_simple_past_contrasted.htm


Here is a good summary of present perfect:

https://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/grammar/pres_perf.htm


For the verb "borrow," it is illustrative to study example sentences.

https://fraze.it/n_search.jsp?hardm=1&t=0&l=0&p=1&q=%22has+borrowed%22

The charity has borrowed virtually all of the $15 million needed for the project.
Chrysler wants $3 billion more on top of the $4 billion it has already borrowed.
Szczepaniak has borrowed more than $200,000 to put his four sons through college.
He has never mentioned the money he has borrowed and I do not think he ever will.
It's misleading because jazz is always a music that has borrowed from other styles.
English has borrowed many words from Greek, including a vast number of scientific terms.

https://fraze.it/n_search.jsp?q=%22borrowed%22&l=0&t=0&ffo=false&findid=-1&ff=

He borrowed $250,000 to buy the building and spent another $50,000 fixing it up.
Finally, last week I borrowed some nails from my father and secured it for good.
Yiddish is another example of a language that borrowed grammar as well as words.
As Lincoln noted in words borrowed from Scripture, a house divided cannot stand.
If Greece pays back what it borrowed, then it can return to the single currency.

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Xenon02 I want to use this summary ... as a message for those who doesn't understand the difference without the context ...

If I were you, I'd read up on it more before summarizing the differences between the past and the present perfect. There really is a lot to say.

If there is a mention of time, you have to use the past. You can't use the present perfect with a mention of time.

If there is no mention of time, the speaker has a choice. Either the past or the present perfect may be possible. The difference is in the speaker's head.

If the speaker is telling a story, it's past. The past is the tense of narration.
If the speaker is just calling attention to the fact that an event happened, it's present perfect. The present perfect is the tense of updates. It reports the fact that some action or event happened and the present situation is the result of that action or event.

The choice, remember, is often not a matter of "one is correct; the other is incorrect", but of "which tense communicates best what's in my mind at this moment of speaking?"


A few more observations.

The past is "opaque" — "blocked off" from the present, as if behind a barrier.
The present perfect is "transparent" — "continuously connected" to the present.


The simple past describes an action as finished and detached from the present moment. The present perfect describes a past action as continuing into the present moment.


With the present perfect there is no time gap between the action and the present.
With the past perfect there is a time gap between the action and the present.

Time ..... > ...... > ...... >
X is the moment of utterance, the moment you say the sentence.

1) These are all the pictures we took that summer.
......... [ took that summer ] ....................... X
_______________________________________________

2) These are all the pictures we've taken over the years.
........... taken - - - over the years - - - - X

1) "that summer" implies a period of time that came to an end before I said the sentence. Therefore, there is a time gap between the end of that summer and the time I say the sentence.

2) "over the years" (without anything further to specify which years) implies a period of time which continues without end to the time I say the sentence. Therefore, there is no time gap between the years I am talking about and the time I say the sentence.

CJ

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Comments  

I saw many of those summary but it is not really easy to imagine what it means when there is no context and those tenses can be used interchangable depending on the emphasis.
That's why I asked, if my thoughts are correct or not ? Are my examples even correct?
Context like (yet, lately, since, for, last year etc.) where we know which sentence to use, but without this context like in the movies or in the books/comics, it is hard to imagine or understand why the character used past simple when the result is visible and the character could use as well present perfect.

The thing is that I wanted to ask if this text I have wrote (present result of my action is that I'm refering to it right now). Interpretating text that doesn't have context is pretty confusing (I had thoughts like "Why the character used Past Simple where I can see the result etc.). Those tenses in my opinion doesn't have strict rules that wouldn't give a misunderstanding and many people wouldn't have problem with it.

What do you think about that?

Xenon02 Are my examples even correct?

Yes, but I really didn't understand the points you were making. The simple past and present perfect are sometimes just the arbitrary choice of the speaker. And other times, (see the web pages I referred to), there is a distinct choice between them.

Example 1: Mary is reading a book.

Joe: That book looks interesting. Where did you get it?
Mary: I borrowed it from Susan.

(The present perfect is not a natural choice because the borrowing was a single past time event.)

Example 2: Mary has many books on her bookshelf.

Joe: You have a fascinating library. Where did you get your books?
Mary: I (have) borrowed many of them from friends who later told me I could keep them. And the rest I've bought over the years at the used book store on Elm Street.

(The present perfect is a possible choice, but the simple past could also be used.)

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AlpheccaStarsYes, but I really didn't understand the points you were making. The simple past and present perfect are sometimes just the arbitrary choice of the speaker. And other times, (see the web pages I referred to), there is a distinct choice between them.

First example I can understand (just telling that she borrowed it in the past) Even Joe used past simple just to say where did she get this book in the past). but that's not always a solution.

But it doesn't mean that Present perfect can't be used here but as you said it just sounds unnatural.

In the second example I can say that she wants to emphasis that she has those books, she borrowed them and that's why she has it. She can as well use past simple to just say that she just borrowed it (simple information).

Just as I said at the beggining it just depend on what the speaker wants to say.
That's my theory that makes me understand it.

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
CalifJimIf I were you, I'd read up on it more before summarizing the differences between the past and the present perfect. There really is a lot to say.If there is a mention of time, you have to use the past. You can't use the present perfect with a mention of time.If there is no mention of time, the speaker has a choice. Either the past or the present perfect may be possible. The difference is in the speaker's head.


That's what I'm trying to say all the time Emotion: big smile That the tense used by someone depends on what does he want to communicate (or the word I ofter over-use "Emphasize").

I gave an example with the word "borrow", with the past simple version and with the present perfect version.
They aren't different at all, each one of them are grammatically correct, the difference is all behind in the choice itself.
What do I mean is that some people can say that I borrowed and I've borrowed isn't a huge difference when people are talking, like the KISS principle - "keep it stupid simple". If someone want to interpret it he will find out that the difference is just in emphasis.

It make it a bit different when the timeline occur (Last year, yet, already, since, for), then you are 100% sure which tense to use thanks to grammar rules.

I'm trying to say all the time that both of them can be used depending on what the speaker want to inform (the past action, or the present result/present situation etc.)

Thanks CJ Emotion: smile

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Just one thing.

Xenon02 "keep it stupid simple"

It's actually "Keep it simple, stupid".

CJ

CalifJimJust one thing.Xenon02 "keep it stupid simple"It's actually "Keep it simple, stupid".CJ

Check this link on wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KISS_principle

At least we agree with what I wrote.