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-   -   Past tense VS present perfect? (http://www.eslhq.com/forums/esl-forums/english-questions/past-tense-vs-present-perfect-55793/)

Amber1010 Oct 4th, 2012 07:55 am

Past tense VS present perfect?
 
Hello. Let's discuses!!


Sam is my boyfriend. We are going to have a date on Sunday. We've been dating for only a few days. I have a Dad. We see each other every day.
Today, it's Sunday morning. Sam picks me up and we go to the beach.
He asks :
1. Did you tell your dad where you were up to?
2. Have you told your dad where we've been up to?

I think they mean the same thing, but the second one is harsher than the first one. Am I right? If we want to talk about something happened in the past casually, it is unnecessary to use the present perfect tense, right?

A. Did you realize he is a bad guy?
B. Have you realized he is a bad guy?

Are there any differences in aspect? I think
A focuses on the action , realize, in the past, while B is focused on the result, "do you know it now?"

Am I right? Thanks!

susan53 Oct 5th, 2012 09:49 am

Re: Past tense VS present perfect?
 
The first one isn't correct as, if you use "be up to" it should be "what", not "where".
"be up to " = do

What are you up to these days? = What are you doing these days? However, "be up to" often has the feeling that the person speaking disapproves - unlikely here as he's her boyfriend and therefore involved in whatever it is they ar doing. So let's stick with the verb "do".

If you want to use "where" the verb (here) must be "go".

So we could have :
Did you tell/Have you told your Dad what we are doing on Sunday?
or
Did you tell/Have you told your Dad where we're going on Sunday?

The choice of the first verb form depends whether the speaker is interested in the "telling" as a past event ....

You promised to tell your Dad about us when he came home yesterday. Did you tell him?

or whether he sees the present result of the past action as being the most important thing - ie he's interested in whether her Dad is now angry, pleased or whatever....

Have you told your Dad about us ? Is he OK about it?

So your explanation is right - but notice that it doesn't match your second set of examples. The first Did you realize he's a bad guy? is fine, but the second doesn't make sense. There's no easily imaginable present result of the past event of "realising". The person would either say : Did you realise.... ? or simply ask about the current situation : Do you realise he's a bad guy?

susan53 Oct 6th, 2012 01:32 am

Re: Past tense VS present perfect?
 
Something occurred to me...

When you used "where", were you perhaps confusing "be up to" with "be off to" ?

"be up to" = do, so What are you up to? / What are you doing?
"be off to" = go, so Where are you off to? / Where are you going?


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