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Since + Present Perfect?

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by peterlr, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. peterlr New Member

    Singapore, Vietnam
    Vietnamese
    HI all,

    I've always used since + past tense, as opposed to present perfect. So far, it's been good.

    However, I have recently come across this article on BBC Learning English that says:
    Link to article (I'm a new member so I can't post link) "bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv174.shtml"

    The part that explains about the usage of present perfect isn't that clear to me.

    Can anyone help shed a light on this?

    Thanks.
     
  2. mooj96 Senior Member

    English - United States
    Native speakers don't really think about the differences, at least, not in the US. Those two sentences mean exactly the same thing to me. I don't know about BrE, maybe they might prefer one over the other. Honestly, I use both. Only thing it depends on is how lazy I feel :p
     
  3. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    "since I have had pizza"

    The present perfect refers to an event or state that started in the past and continues to the present, at least in the mind of the speaker. Here, it's a state, and the state is that of not eating (having) pizza. If you are the speaker, that state started when you finished your last piece of pizza and continues until now.
     
  4. peterlr New Member

    Singapore, Vietnam
    Vietnamese
    Thanks Mooj96. I agree it shouldn't make any difference in practice.

    Hi Ricardo,

    Thanks Ricardo, I understand your point.

    However, what I don't understand is this:
    "Since" is supposed to be followed by a point of time, isn't it? "Since I last had pizza" is fine because it indicates a particular point in the past (that I last had pizza).
    And from that point till now: "it's been a long time" -> so present perfect in this clause is OK because it expresses the continuation of "not having pizza" leading up to the present.

    What does it mean by having "since" + present perfect? So since when?
    "I've had pizza" as you said seems to indicates a period, rather than a point of time.

    Since + a point: |(this point)===========>Now

    Since + period: ///period///=============>Now: So are we referring to "I first ate pizza" (the beginning of the period) or "I last ate pizza" (the ending point of the period)?

    Thanks guys.
     
  5. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    Not necessarily followed ("It's been an hour since my last pizza"), but let's leave that aside.

    The word "since" (in the time sense) is normally used with perfect tenses. The "point" in the perfect tense is the start of the period. In the of the uneaten pizza, the "point" is when you last ate a pizza. That is the point in time that starts the period of the perfect tense and it is the point of time that "since" refers to.
     
  6. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    The present perfect has what I call a negative sense in "since I have had pasta". The sentence "It's been a long time since I have had pasta" means "I have not had pasta in a long time."

    And there is a possibility of ambiguity. For example "since I have lived in Paris" might be used in its positive sense (= "during which I have lived in Paris" = "since I came to Paris") or in its negative sense (= "during which I have not lived in Paris" = "since I left Paris").

    Watch the context.
     
  7. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    So the positive sense would exist if the context is that you are still living in Paris when you say "since I have lived in Paris" and the negative sense would exist if the context is that you no longer living in Paris when you say it.
     

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