Past simple x present perfect - today

wordforum

Member
Spanish - Spain
Call for help

Here is the reason of a big hesitation.

When can I use past simple or present perfect in the following sentence;

Today I (get up) first as usual, (brush) my teeth and (head) for school.

Is it better to use Past or Present perfect. I would use Present perfect because TODAY hasn't finished yet but I would use past because I won't get up again TODAY. That's the reason of my confusion. How would you native English speaker interpret this sentence?
And can I even use past and present perfect in the same sentence without sounding strange?

Thank you so much for any help.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with Beryl that we would normally use the past simple here if we were simply describing a sequence of actions.

    But I think we might use the present perfect if the focus was on "now":
    This morning, I've got up first as usual, I've brushed my teeth and I've headed for school. So I've achieved all that. But what should I do next?
    or
    This morning, I've got up first as usual, I've brushed my teeth and I've headed for school. But I'm sure I've forgotten something: what is it that I've forgotten to do?
     

    wordforum

    Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Thank you Loob. I also agree but I don't know why you changed TODAY into THIS MORNING. I consider NOW being any moment. If I refer to TODAY, the moment of speaking is also NOW which means to me at a certain time of TODAY or at the end of TODAY which makes more sense for the present perfect.
    Now I see it was normal for me to be confused as each of you have reached different conclusions. So I suppose both answers could be possible depending on the moment you focus on.
    That is the conclusion I've drawn.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Beryl and Loob actually agree, wordforum. To English speakers, "today" does not give a strong sense of ongoing-ness, but "this morning" (if it's still the morning) does. "Today" often means "earlier today" - that is, in the past.

    If the sentence emphasizes that "today" is still ongoing in the present, you can use the present perfect:

    So far today, I've gotten up, I've brushed my teeth, and I've headed to school.
     

    wordforum

    Member
    Spanish - Spain
    I love your answer because it just puts the finger in the two meanings of TODAY.
    So we could say:
    Today, I've seen your friend talking to my neighbour (Today meaning "along the day" but rather closer to now)
    Today, I saw your friend talking to my neighbour (Today meaning "at the beginning of the day" or rather far from now)

    But I might think that although "mornings" are not as long as "days" that I could apply the same tenses using "this morning"
    This morning, I've seen your friend talking to my neighbour (This morning meaning "along the morning" but rather closely to now)
    This morning, I saw your friend talking to my neighbour (This morning meaning "first thing in the morning" or rather far from now)

    Or would I be wrong?
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    There's still one problem:
    Today, I've seen your friend talking to my neighbour :cross: (This just isn't one of the meanings of "today." You need to add more information to make it work: "So far today, I've seen your friend talking to 18 people! He's had all those conversations just today. He sure loves to talk!")
    Today, I saw your friend talking to my neighbour :tick: (Works perfectly)

    This morning, I've seen your friend talking to my neighbour :tick: (it is still morning, and I'm emphasizing the things that I have seen so far this morning - maybe "This morning, I've seen your friend talking to my neighbor, the mailman, and my younger sister. He sure is social!")
    This morning, I saw your friend talking to my neighbour :tick: (It is no longer morning.)
     
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