Present Perfect vs Past Simple


Senior Member

Why is Present Perfect is used in the first part of the following sentence:
'In past downturns I've done well, but this downturn has me stumped.'

Is it because 'in past downturns' can be changed for something like 'so far'?
The reason for the question is that my students might say that the word 'past' is a typical marker for Past Simple, and here we use Present Perfect.

Thank you in advance.
  • Lodzubelieveit

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I think the time period in the first clause is simply 'during my life', i.e. an unfinished period. Of course, it'd be different if the sentence started with a specific time in the past, e.g. 'In the downturn last year...'


    Senior Member
    British English
    In/with/during previous downturns, I've done well, but this downturn has me stumped.'

    i.e. over the period of time that each recession ran until recovery.


    Senior Member
    The situation with this sentence is more or less clear.
    But here is another sentence on the heels of the first one: 'For more highly educated workers, finanace may no longer offer as many high-paying jobs as it has in the past.'
    Do I have to interpret 'as it has in the past' as 'so far' too?
    I meant to post both these two sentences in this post, but could not find the second one on my hard drive at the time. I hope I am not violating the rules of the forum by adding a new question to the post.


    Senior Member
    British English
    You can learn a lot by substitution. Try turning the first part of the example into simple past.
    I did well in past downturns, but the current one has me stumped
    If you can sense a difference I think that's your answer. I really think it depends on what was in the mind of the speaker at the time.

    Silene Sierra

    New Member
    I would like to ask you about this sentence:
    "They decided to postphone the meeting."
    "They've decided to postphone the meeting."
    Which option is correct? Does it depend on the fact whether it is the only one sentence in the message or the message is longer? Maybe both tenses are possible? If so, which option would you rather use as a native speaker? Does it matter that the message is written and not spoken?