in the past we have always spent our holidays in Greece

Peter SLP

Senior Member
Polish
Hi guys,
I am an English teacher in Poland and I am perfectly aware of differences between Past Simple and Pr. Perfect.
However, one student asked me why Pr. Perfect was used in the following sentence and I was not so sure of my answer.
He asked why he couldn't use 'in the past we spent our holidays in Greece.


"In the past we have (always) spent our holidays in Greece."

And here is another one with a different tense used:

She had taught at school in the past.


Many thanks in advance for your linguistic help.
 
  • dona83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I suppose the reason Present Perfect and Past Perfect are used here is because the sentences refer to an 'experience' that happened in an unspecified moment in the past. The focus of the attention is the action rather than the moment in the past when the action occurred.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Your examples all require completing:

    "In the past we have (always) spent our holidays in Greece, but this year we are going to Mongolia."
    The present perfect implies that last year you went to Greece.

    "She had taught at school in the past, but now she was teaching in a prison."
    The past perfect indicates that "at sometime on the past, but not recently, she had taught at a school."

    "She taught at school in the past, but now she was teaching in a prison."
    This is the same as the past perfect.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    He asked why he couldn't use 'in the past we spent our holidays in Greece”.
    You can and must use the simple past if you consider “the past” as a period that ended in the past. However, if you regard “the past” as a period of past time that continued to the present period, you must use the present perfect.
     
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