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Hello... I would like to ask a few questions about present perfect and past perfect tense..

do we use past perfect tense when we are mentioning something that happened before a past action only?? or is there any other circumstances which require us to use past perfect tense??

When we are describing an incident, do we use past perfect tense??

Note this sentence : ( adapted from an english essay reference book )

"of course, there HAVE BEEN isolated cases in the past when the indicriminate use of the cane by a handful of teachers HAS resulted in physical injury"

Why was present perfect used here when this sentence is mentioning something in the past??

Thank you...

Shannon
Comments  
The implication is that these isolated cases are on an imaginary list of things that are relevant to the current conversation. You can think of the present perfect as a kind of "diary tense". If you say, "The use of the cane has resulted in physical injury", you mean that the occurrence of such an incident is written down somewhere (in an imaginary diary). When it happened is not important. So, if knowing that it has happened (that it is 'recorded somewhere') is important in the conversation, you use the present perfect tense. If you just want to say that it happened, use the simple past.

CJ
Hmm.. Thanks for the reply CJ

but how about this : "there HAVE BEEN isolated cases in the PAST"

Since its in the past, shouldn't we use "had been"??

the same question again, besides stating that an action has happened before another one, when do we still use past perfect tense??

Thanks

Shannon
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is anyone still in this forum?
Hi,

Yes, many of us are still here.

how about this : "there HAVE BEEN isolated cases in the PAST"
Since its in the past, shouldn't we use "had been"?? The Present Perfect means the period referred to is 'the past up until now, ie up unitl the present'.

the same question again, besides stating that an action has happened before another one, when do we still use past perfect tense??
When we are focusing on a point of time in the past, and want to mention something that happened earlier.

eg In 2003, Tom was a teacher in China. He had studied Chinese for three years.

Best wishes, Clive
Anonymous"there HAVE BEEN isolated cases in the PAST"

Since its in the past, shouldn't we use "had been"??
No. The present perfect is about things in the past. Don't let the name 'present perfect' fool you. The word 'present' tells us that the reference point is the present. The action itself is in the past.
CJ
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Hi
I thout present perfect refers to a happening of present, and it still taking place now.
Hi,
I thout present perfect refers to a happening of present, and it still taking place now.

Consider something like this.

Hi, Dad. I have passed my driving test. Can I borrow the car?

The person clearly passed the test in the past, but that event has importance now because he wants to borrow the car now.

Best wishes, Clive
AnonymousI thought the present perfect refers referred to a happening of in the present, and it is still taking place now.
No. You are mistaken. It is about a happening in the past. The effects of this past event may be felt in the present, but the original event was in the past.
Suppose that I saw the film Gone with the Wind many years ago.
Someone may ask: Have you seen Gone with the Wind?
I answer: Yes. I have seen that film.
Do you understand? The event of seeing the film is in the past. It is not still taking place now. The present perfect is used only because the event of seeing Gone with the Wind is now on the list of things I have done in the past.
CJ
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