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Hello

1. "Have you heard about the murder last night?" "Yes, that's terrible. I've heard two men have been/were arrested nearby the crime scene"

--- My question is why "have you heard" and "last night"? Can I use the present perfect and say: last night, yesterday, two days ago, as far as I know when I use them, then I should use the past simple tense instead of the present perfect tense? As for the answer, again, it's possible to use either the present perfect or the past simple tense. I would write: Did you hear about the murder last night? Yes, I heard two men were arrested (because it was yesterday. I wouldn't use the present perfect tense at all).

2. "Honey, where is the basket with food for our picnic?" "Don't worry. It is already packed"

--- Is it also OK to respond: Don't worry. It has already been packed. Which is better in your view?

Thank you
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NewguestMy question is why "have you heard" and "last night"? Can I use the present perfect and say: last night, yesterday, two days ago, as far as I know when I use them, then I should use the past simple tense instead of the present perfect tense?
You missed one thing. It is the time of the murder (and not the moment of "hearing") that "last night" refers to. So, yes, the Present Perfect is OK.
NewguestI would write: Did you hear about the murder last night? Yes, I heard two men were arrested
 AFAIK, only in American English it would be possible.
Newguests it also OK to respond: Don't worry. It has already been packed.
Sure, and the difference is not only in the tense. In the original sentence "packed" is an adjective, and in yours it is a verb!  
Newguest1. "Have you heard about the murder last night?" "Yes, that's terrible. I've heard two men have been/were arrested nearby the crime scene"

--- My question is why "have you heard" and "last night"? Can I use the present perfect and say: last night, yesterday, two days ago, as far as I know when I use them, then I should use the past simple tense instead of the present perfect tense? As for the answer, again, it's possible to use either the present perfect or the past simple tense. I would write: Did you hear about the murder last night? Yes, I heard two men were arrested (because it was yesterday. I wouldn't use the present perfect tense at all).
It's "last night's murder". The murder was last night, not the hearing about it. (Still, it struck me as odd, too.) I would have said Have you heard about last night's murder?
On the other hand, *Have you heard the news last night? would make last night apply to the hearing of the news, and that would certainly be wrong. As you say, the present perfect can't be used with a definite time.
Newguest2. "Honey, where is the basket with food for our picnic?" "Don't worry. It is already packed"

--- Is it also OK to respond: Don't worry. It has already been packed. Which is better in your view?
The alternate is also OK, but my preference is for the first one. To me, the important thing is how the basket stands now, not what actions were performed earlier to make it so.

CJ
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NewguestHello

1. "Have you heard about the murder last night?" "Yes, that's terrible. I've heard two men have been/were arrested nearby the crime scene"

--- My question is why "have you heard" and "last night"? Can I use the present perfect and say: last night, yesterday, two days ago, as far as I know when I use them, then I should use the past simple tense instead of the present perfect tense? As for the answer, again, it's possible to use either the present perfect or the past simple tense. I would write: Did you hear about the murder last night? Yes, I heard two men were arrested (because it was yesterday. I wouldn't use the present perfect tense at all).
Often Present Perfect points to the events that happened in the past but result is obvious now, in present. But it's never used for with such phrases: yesterday, last week, last night, an hour ago... But you can use Past Simple with such phrases: today, this week, this year if you imply the particular time which went by.

I got up early today (it's implied morning went by).
Have you read a newspaper today? (The resut is important - whether you read or not).

I've heard two men have been nearby the crime scene" (They are under arrest and they were nearby the scene and it's important now, although it was in the past).
I've heard two men were arrested nearby the crime scene" (I know that they're in prison).

2. "Honey, where is the basket with food for our picnic?" "Don't worry. It is already packed"

--- Is it also OK to respond: Don't worry. It has already been packed. Which is better in your view? As for me they both are the same.

Thank you

Hi, CJ. I wonder if you could correct me too. Thank you.
CalifJim
1. "Have you heard about the murder last night?"

On the other hand, *Have you heard the news last night? would make last night apply to the hearing of the news, and that would certainly be wrong. As you say, the present perfect can't be used with a definite time.

CJ

Does the word "about" make that my first sentences is OK? You sentence CJ "Have you heard the news last night?" is almost the same as mine, apart from the word "about".

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Hi, Fandorin,
I think my previous remarks pretty much cover your concerns, but let me add just a few more.
Fandorin I've heard two men have been [arrested] nearby the crime scene" (They are under arrest and they were nearby the scene and it's important now, although it was in the past).
I've heard two men were arrested nearby the crime scene" (I know that they're in prison).
First (and I neglected to point it out earlier), it would be more idiomatically stated as
1. I've heard that two men have been arrested near the scene of the crime.
You changed it slightly to draw a contrast of tenses in the subordinate clause.
I've heard that two men were arrested near the scene of the crime.
I think that most speakers would probably make the tenses of the two clauses match, however, thus:
2. I heard that two men were arrested near the scene of the crime.
In this case, the difference between present perfect and past (1. and 2.) is so slight that it hardly makes any difference which you use. It is true that the present perfect relates more strongly to the present, but it is hard to know exactly what that means in this particular case.
Nevertheless, the inferences you draw are not quite correct.
They were arrested implies less strongly that the men are still under arrest and in custody, because it is not at all contradictory to say
They were arrested, but they escaped. Police are still looking for them.
It is not really entirely certain that they are in prison (in custody) now just from the words were arrested.
____
On the other hand, They have been arrested implies more strongly that the men are still under arrest and in custody.
So there is something a little anomalous about

?They have been arrested, but they have escaped.
because when we hear have been arrested, we tend to feel that the men continue to be under arrest, and when we hear have escaped, we feel that the men continue to be at large, so how can it be that both are true at the same time?
They same kind of anomaly occurs with
?They have lived in Silver Springs for several years, but they have moved to Westville.

People may say such things, but it's not the clearest way to say them.
CJ
Thank you so much, CJ. You always have an ace up your sleeve. Emotion: smile Thank you, again.
NewguestDoes the word "about" make that my first sentences is OK? You sentence CJ "Have you heard the news last night?" is almost the same as mine, apart from the word "about".
The word about is irrelevant. Put it out of your mind. I could have given an incorrect example with about. For example, *Have you heard about the neighbor last night? is also wrong.
If I'm not mistaken, now you will want to know the difference between
the murder last night
and
the neighbor last night.
The difference is that murder is a noun that represents an action; neighbor is not. You can talk about the murder that happened last night; you cannot talk about *the neighbor that happened last night.
Because *the neighbor that happened last night is impossible, you cannot interpret *Have you heard about the neighbor last night? as *Have you heard [about the neighbor that happened last night]? You must interpret it as *Have you [heard last night] [about the neighbor]? which is wrong because it associates a present perfect tense with a definite time (last night).

Because the murder that happened last night is possible, you can interpret Have you heard about the murder last night? in two ways. You can interpret it as Have you heard [about the murder that happened last night]? which is acceptable, or as *Have you [heard last night] [about the murder]? which is wrong. Although it is ambiguous, there is an interpretation which is grammatically correct, so the sentence is acceptable. (Nevertheless, I think it is preferable to rephrase it because of the ambiguity, and I showed you how to do that above with the phrase last night's murder.)
____
In short, if a definite time phrase modifies a noun, or can be analyzed that way, it may be acceptable to use it with a present perfect. But when the definite time phrase cannot be analyzed as a noun modifier, but must be seen as a modifier of the verb, it cannot be used with a present perfect.
That said, the principle has a very limited scope. There are cases where it seems it should apply, but it doesn't. It's probably best to avoid any possible confusion by using only the simple past when you have a definite time phrase.
Did you hear about the murder last night?
CJ
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