Present perfect + "yesterday"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Artrella, May 13, 2005.

  1. Artrella Banned

    Hello people!

    We are taught that we cannot use the present perfect with an expression of time, like yesterday, a minute ago, a couple of hours ago....

    However, I've read in some magazines this kind of sentence...

    Is this possible? Or is it substandard English?

    Example : I've taken up my courses yesterday...

    I know that is not correct, but do you use it?

    Thank you
  2. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    perso, that sounds horrible and i couldn't really ever hear myself saying it let alone writing it.
  3. la grive solitaire

    la grive solitaire Senior Member

    United States, English
    I suppose it might be possible, depending on the other elements in the sentence. Could you give more examples? ("I've started my courses yesterday" would have to be changed to, "As of yesterday, I started my courses."
  4. suzzzenn Senior Member

    New York
    USA English
    Hi Art,

    No, I wouldn't use it. It probably wouldn't stand out as a glaring mistake if someone I knew said it, but at the same time, it doesn't feel natural.

  5. Artrella Banned

    Thank you!!! Ok, now it is clear that perhaps it was a mistake or bad English that used in that magazine...I will try to find some examples lgs, but it's difficult for me to find them...
    I needed to know your opinions about the usage, so you have helped me expressing your points of view. Thanks a lot! :)
  6. ameridude Member

    It's funny that until I read your sentence, I had no idea what the "present perfect" was. Anyhow, your sentence IS glaringly incorrect, but your sentence would be intelligible to any native speaker.

    Here's when to use the present perfect ("I have gone...") and other tenses:

    I have gone to the movies many times. An event in the past, but a distinct time is not indicated.

    In fact, I went to the movies yesterday. This is a distinct event that is completed.

    My phone rang, but I had gone to the movies, so I missed the call. I had already left for the movies when the phone rang. Both are past tense, but "going to the movies" occurred first. "Had gone" implies that the action of going was completed when the phone rang, but not necessarily.

    I was going to the movies when I ran into a friend. The action is not completed when a 2nd distinct event in the past occurred.

    "I am going to the movies." I said to my friend. "Would you like to go to the movies with me?"

    "I am too busy to join you, but I will go to the movies on Saturday" she replied. She had been on her way to the supermarket when we met on the street.

    "I will be going then as well," I said in return.

    So we are going to go to the movies tomorrow.
  7. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hey Art GF; are correct..
    it is NOT correct to use 'time' with the present perfect..

    We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important. You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with time expressions such as "yesterday," "one year ago," "last week," "when I was a chlid," "when I lived in Japan," "at that moment," "that day" or "one day." We CAN use the Present Perfect with expressions like "ever," "never," "once," "many times," "several times," "before," "so far," "already" and "yet."

    source: English Grammar Page

  8. Saurabh

    Saurabh Senior Member

    New Delhi City
    English-British, Hindi
    Good explanation.
  9. Saurabh

    Saurabh Senior Member

    New Delhi City
    English-British, Hindi
    Good one too.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  10. iconoclast Senior Member

    english - anglo-irish
    Present perfect simple does sometimes get mixed up with past-time expressions in everyday speech, when the speaker switches in mid-stream from the 'having done it' focus to the 'when I did it' focus, producing something like "Oh, yea, I've done that ... yesterday in fact". You could argue that this is not really a case of present perfect simple plus past-time expression, but it comes close, and it's happened to me.

    The only time you can use present perfect simple with a past-time word appropriately is in an exclamation with 'when', often accompanied by 'ever', in expressions of surprise and/or indignation, e.g.

    When have you ever seen a police officer walking around in drag!
  11. paul_vicmar

    paul_vicmar Senior Member

    Asturias, Spain
    English, UK
    Present perfect simple does sometimes get mixed up with past-time expressions in everyday speech - Grammatically it is incorrect. For people who might be reading this who are studying for FCE/CAE or other english exams it is important to realise that peoples everyday conversation is not necessarlily grammatically correct.
    Oh, yea, I've done that ... yesterday in fact - I think this would really be two separate sentences i.e I´ve done that. It was yesterday in fact.

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