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I have been to New York and I have bought many books.

(Focusing on my trip and my purchase of books.)

I have been to New York and I bought many books.

(Focusing on my trip and what I did WHEN I was there)

Now the great question::

I went to New York and I bought many books.

(For me, if there is no mention to when the trip happened I could not start the sentence with simple past.)

I know it is colloquial but is it grammatically correct to use a simple past sentence with no explicit or implicit concept of time before, during or after the statement was made?

Thank you!
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Hi,

I went to New York and I bought many books.

(For me, if there is no mention to when the trip happened I could not start the sentence with simple past.)

I know it is colloquial but is it grammatically correct to use a simple past sentence with no explicit or implicit concept of time before, during or after the statement was made?

If you meet me in the street and say Hi, Clive, I've been to New York, I'll say something like Great, did you have a good time?

If you meet me in the street and say Hi, Clive, I went to New York, I'll ask When? because the statement needs to refer to a point in time.

As you note, however, the time reference can be implicit or mentioned in some earlier sentence.

Best wishes, Clive
Hi,

Glad you asked this question. How English speaking people use English does not represent the correctness of their English. That said, I would say what you hear depends a lot on the class of people you converse with and this has nothing to do with economics. By that, I mean rich people don’t necessarily possess better English skills.

Going back to you questions, in a general sense, it really makes no difference whether you mention “purchasing the book” first or “ been to N.Y.”. But if there is a specific context in which you want to emphasize that you had visited N.Y., then you need to put the N.Y. visit at the beginning. Likewise, if you want to emphasize the books, put the book at the front of the sentence structure. If there are two thoughts I want to express with out any order in mind, I would say : I bought many books while visiting N.Y. This has no mention of time. Just a simple sentence with adverbial clause (while visiting N.Y.). However, in a conversation in which people talked about travels, you can say:

I’ve been to N.Y. many time and bought books each time as mementoes. Or simply used a simple past tense: I went to N.Y. many times and bought books as momentous.

Following is the Rule of thumb – Examples

1) Mary shared an apartment with me before. The context suggested that She is no

longer sharing the apartment with you.

2) Mary has been sharing an apartment with me since the beginning of the year. This context requires present perfect progress to depict the time line of past till now.

3) Mary is sharing an apartment with me. This tell people simply Mary shares an apartment with you now, no time line of the past; just now.

4) Mary had shared an apartment with me before she found a job out-of –state.

This calls for past perfect tense to depict the time line of something happened in the past and finished in the past.

The sharing took place sometime in the past and finished in the past before

another event took place.
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Hi,

If you meet me in the street and say Hi, Clive, I've been to New York, I'll say something like Great, did you have a good time?

If you meet me in the street and say Hi, Clive, I went to New York, I'll ask When? because the statement needs to refer to a point in time.

Hi, Clive, I went to New York last summer. What would you answer? "Great, did you have a good time?" ?

Hi, Clive, I've been to New York Does that mean that the person has been several times in NY? Or, just that he/she some time in his/her past has been in NY?
Thank you, Jake
Hi Goodman. Hi everybody.

If I am referring in my speech to an event in the past that has a beginning and an end, which time shall I use?

For example: It is October 06, I was/had been/have been, form August 05 until August 06 in the US because of an exchange year.

So, I would say to my friend:

During my exchange year I had bowled a lot. Or, during my exchange year I bowled a lot. Or, during my exchange year I have bowled a lot.

Other example, my English (has/had) improved a lot while I was in the U.S.

Thank you very much, Jake


4) Mary had shared an apartment with me before she found a job out-of –state.

This calls for past perfect tense to depict the time line of something happened in the past and finished in the past.

The sharing took place sometime in the past and finished in the past before

another event took place.

One quick point related to this topic. When the time adverbs-- like "after" or "before"--clearly show the sequence of events, it is OK to use simple past for both events. So, in this sentence, "had shared" or "shared" would convey the same meaning.
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Swiss JakeHi Goodman. Hi everybody.

If I am referring in my speech to an event in the past that has a beginning and an end, which time shall I use?

For example: It is October 06, I was/had been/have been, form August 05 until August 06 in the US because of an exchange year.

So, I would say to my friend:

During my exchange year I had bowled a lot. Or, during my exchange year I bowled a lot. Or, during my exchange year I have bowled a lot.

Other example, my English (has/had) improved a lot while I was in the U.S.

Thank you very much, Jake

If I am referring in my speech to an event in the past that has a beginning and an end, which time shall I use? As I said in my last post, if you are referring to something which had started in the past; carrying on for a period of time and ended before another event took place, you should consider using past perfect.

For example: It is October 06 (is this a make-belief day?) Are you speaking back from the country you came from or still in the US? The answer could vary. If you were back in your country, use past perfect tense. But if you are still in the US, use present perfect

So, I would say to my friend:

During my exchange year I had bowled a lot. Or, during my exchange year I bowled a lot. Or, during my exchange year I have bowled a lot. ( Past perfect is the first choice/ past an alternative)

Other example, my English (had) improved a lot while I was in the U.S. (you are speaking as if you are back to your own country, right?)

Hope that helps you...
Hi Goodman.

Thank you.

Yes, when I am back in my country and I am looking back on my exchange year.

With October, 2006 I meant the date, when I am back in my country. Sorry for the confusion. I did not mean Oc. 6th.

Jake