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As I was studying the present perfect tense in my textbook, I found the following sentences:

I graduated from college ten years ago.
I have been out of college for ten years.

Question:
May I also say " I have graduated from college for ten years."?


They got married one year ago.
They have been married for one year.

Question:
May I also say ...
" They have got married for one year",
"They have married each other for one year." ?


I stated school two years ago.
I have been in school for two years.

Question:
May I also say "I have started school for two years."?


Her father retired last year.
He has been retired for one year.

Question:
May I also say "He has retired for one year."?


Please advise.

Lcchang







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Comments  
I graduated from college ten years ago. – This meaning you actually graduated with a degree.
I have been out of college for ten years. – From the listener’s point of view, you could mean you actually graduated, or you dropped out without graduating.
Question:
May I also say " I have graduated from college for ten years."? –No, it won’t sound right.

They got married one year ago.
They have been married for one year. These two sentences essentially have the same message
Question:
May I also say ...
" They have got married for one year",
"They have married each other for one year." ? This won’t sound clumsy. Just say “They have been married for a year”. It’s clear enough

I stated school two years ago.
I have been in school for two years. – you mean “ I have been going to school for 2 years?
Question:
May I also say "I have started school for two years."? No, it sounds confusing.

Her father retired last year.
He has been retired for (a) / one year. These two sentence convey the same message.

From teacher Goodman's answer to my question, the following sentences don't sound right.

They have married each other for one year.(incorrect) --> They have been married for one year. (correct)

I have graduated from college for ten years. (incorrect) --> I have been out of college for ten years. (correct)

I have started school for two years. (incorrect)--> I have been going to school for two years. (correct)

What about these sentences:
I have eaten lunch.
I have seen that movie.


Do they sound right? If they do, why couldn't the blue sentences?

I just feel confused when creating sentences by using the present perfect tense that is based on the following structure:

Subject + has/have + past participle ...

Please advise.

Lcchang
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Hello Chang

The usage and meaning of the present perfect tense depends on the kind of the verb and the time adverbial used with it. For example, if you say "I have already finished the work", it means "I have now the result of<finished the work>". You can say also "I have graduated from Harvard University". We take it that you are saying "I have now the result of <graduated from Harvard University>", or, in another words, "I am a graduate from Harvard University". But you cannot say either "I have finished the work for three hours" to mean "I finished the work three hours ago" or "I have graduated Harvard University for ten years" to mean "I graduated Harvard University ten years ago".

The construction like "Subject has V-ed for X-period" is only possible when the verb V can have a sense of continuous state or a sense of repetitive/habitual activity. For example, "live" is a stative verb, so you can say "I have lived in Taipei for ten years". "Eat sushi" can be used to mean a repetitive/habitual activity, so you can say "I have eaten sushi for ten years". But "finish the work" or "graduate Harvard" is a singular punctual (= one-time) activity, so that you can say neither "I have finished the work for three hours" nor "I have graduated Harvard University for ten years"

paco


Hi LCChang

For your questions,

“Marry” is a tricky verb. Joey married her high-school sweetheart Paul this past summer. (Joey married Paul, active voice)

Paul is married to Joey. ( passive voice)

Joey and Paul were married (to each other- passive voice)

Joey and Paul have been married for a year. ( passive voice)

What about these sentences:
I have eaten lunch. – grammatically, nothing is wrong with your sentence. But context –wise, it sounds odd to me. Often times, ESL learners follow the formula to the teeth without careful consideration of time reference and context. If you say “I have just finished eating lunch”, then it’s fine.
The problem with “ I have eaten lunch” is that there is no modifier in the sentence to complete the thought. Based on your sentence, I revised it as a complete statement as if someone is offering you food for lunch and you said”

1) I have already eaten lunch.

2) I have just eaten lunch

Or simply say “I already ate lunch, thank you”.

Subject + has/have + past participle ...

I have seen that movie.- This is fine. Or a simple past tense “ I already saw that movie” will work just as well.

Paco2004Hello Chang

The usage and meaning of the present perfect tense depends on the kind of the verb and the time adverbial used with it. For example, if you say "I have already finished the work", it means "I have now the result of<finished the work>". You can say also "I have graduated from Harvard University". We take it that you are saying "I have now the result of <graduated from Harvard University>", or, in another phrases, "I am a graduate from Harvard University". But you cannot say either "I have finished the work for three hours" to mean "I finished the work three hours ago" or "I have graduated Harvard University for ten years" to mean "I graduated Harvard University ten years ago".

The construction like "Subject has V-ed for X-period" is only possible when the verb V can have a sense of continuous state or a sense of repetitive/habitual activity. For example, "live" is a stative verb, so you can say "I have lived in Taipei for ten years". "Eat sushi" can be used to mean a repetitive/habitual activity, so you can say "I have eaten sushi for ten years". But "finish the work" or "graduate Harvard" is a singular punctual (= one-time) activity, so that you can say neither "I finished the work three hours ago" nor "I have graduated Harvard University for ten years"

paco
Hi, paco. I think the highlighted part needs an alteration, doesn't it?Emotion: wink
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Hello Diamond

I'm sorry but I can't get what you mean. Is "Someone can say neither A nor B" so bad? I believe you are a more advanced learner than me, and so I am grateful if you kindly correct my wrong sentences.

paco
Paco2004Hello Diamond

I'm sorry but I can't get what you mean. Is "Someone can say neither A nor B" so bad? I believe you are a more advanced learner than me, and so I am grateful if you kindly correct my wrong sentences.

paco
I don't think so, but what I don't understand is what is wrong with the sentence "I finished the work three hours ago". I think it is correct, but you wrote that one cannot say it.Emotion: thinking or have I misunderstood you?
Aha! I see! I noticed I made a big mistake in pasting sentences. Yes, it should be "I have finished the work for three hours". Thank you for pointing out the mistake, Diamond.

paco
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