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Well, this happened when I was abroad this summer:

I came to a museum. It was 12 o'clock and I knew the museum closed at 1 pm - I read the label on the door before I came in.

The lady in the museum informed me about this fact as well - she hadn't seen me reading the label.

I replied: "I've seen the label."

Is the present perfect correct here? I'd say it is because I wanted to stress the present result - my knowledge of the fact. However, I think some people might argue that I should have used the past simple because I spoke about a definite time in the past: "I saw the label (when I was entering the door)." Could you please comment on this?

Also, what else could I have said to sound as natural as possible? Just for fun: in my mother tongue, I would have said I've seen it on the doorbut I consider this completely unnatural and "un-English". Emotion: wink
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PastsimpleWell, this happened when I was abroad this summer:

I came to a museum. It was 12 o'clock and I knew the museum closed at 1 pm - I read the label on the door before I came in.

The lady in the museum informed me about this fact as well - she hadn't seen me reading the label.

I replied: "I've seen the label."

Is the present perfect correct here? I'd say it is because I wanted to stress the present result - my knowledge of the fact. However, I think some people might argue that I should have used the past simple because I spoke about a definite time in the past: "I saw the label (when I was entering the door)." Could you please comment on this?

Also, what else could I have said to sound as natural as possible? Just for fun: in my mother tongue, I would have said I've seen it on the doorbut I consider this completely unnatural and "un-English". Emotion: wink

I'm in the western US, and "label" may be used differently in some other areas.

In the case of the museum, "sign" or "notice" are words that I would think of before I used "label". A "label" usually means something that says what is in a container (a bottle, box, can, or file, for instance). A "sign" does a lot of things, including identifying a building.

"I've seen the sign" seems fine because you saw it very recently. (Present perfect (as in your example) works. Past perfect, "I had seen your sign" or "I'd seen your sign", would not be a good choice.)

"I saw the sign" is fine, also.

"I 've seen the sign on the door" and "I saw the sign on the door" are OK.

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I 've edited this post because I forgot something! (note the tense: present perfect)

I also could say "I edited this post" .
To me, both Present Perfect examples seem fine. Also, I think that «Thanks, I saw the label (on the door)» could be ok as well.

But if you explicitly specify the time using Past Perfect will be incorrect.

«I saw (only Past Simple) the label whern I entered the museum».

EDIT: Missed Nef's post...
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Hi guys,

thanks for your helpful comments. Btw, I have made a mistake in the title of this thread: it should read "present perfect in a museum". Shame on me! Emotion: embarrassed I did know past perfect was completely unacceptable in this context - I wanted to discuss past simple and past perfect.

Btw, I think "I saw the sign" might not be the most natural choice in BrE. It surely works in AmE, though.
PastsimpleBtw, I think "I saw the sign" might not be the most natural choice in BrE. It surely works in AmE, though.
Right.
Not that this is on topic, but I'm intrigued. A posting outside a building is called a label in BrE? What is a sign?
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PastsimpleWell, this happened when I was abroad this summer:

I came to a museum. It was 12 o'clock and I knew the museum closed at 1 pm - I read the label on the door before I came in.

The lady in the museum informed me about this fact as well - she hadn't seen me reading the label.

I replied: "I've seen the label."

Is the present perfect correct here? I'd say it is because I wanted to stress the present result - my knowledge of the fact. However, I think some people might argue that I should have used the past simple because I spoke about a definite time in the past: "I saw the label (when I was entering the door)." Could you please comment on this?

Also, what else could I have said to sound as natural as possible? Just for fun: in my mother tongue, I would have said I've seen it on the doorbut I consider this completely unnatural and "un-English". Emotion: wink

Because her assumption that you did not see a sign provoked her to react in the present time, now, a past action that is somehow related to the present is exactly what present perfect serves for. So if you wanted to pass her a message : "lady do not worry," you say "I've seen it" (and I have it in mind now and I will have in the future).

"I saw it" says not much about your present or future intention.

So a more polite, thus British way, is to say "I've seen it". (me ladyEmotion: big smile) it says more that you are ready to be responsible as she requires.

This is perfectly ok:

I leave the museum at 1pm because I've seen the sign saying so when I entered.

Don't forget see could mean recognize, comprehend so when you say "I've seen it" you could say "I've noticed/comprehended it" as well.

The use of present perfect is especially vital here because the seen sign refers to the event in the future - you will leave the museum at 1 pm. If you do not mind about the sign you may say "I saw it", past action ended - who cares.

Thus "I've seen it" is more functional, but who cares much about the functionality in the museum, or maybe you do because you are in the museum. A professor, student, tired student, foreigner... who entered, who talks, you can use past or present perfect to tell us more about the person in the museum.
I'm wondering about the BrE "label" and "sign" usage, too. This is interesting.
There is no difference in the level of politeness in these sentences, and to suggest that the use of past perfect is more polite than simple past is absurd.

"Yes, I've seen the sign, thank you."

"Yes, thank you, I saw the sign on the way in."

As long as you don't combine the past perfect with when you saw it: I've seen the sign on my way in is incorrect.
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