There has been an accident. = There was an accident.


Have you ever heard the story?
= Did you ever hear the story?


A: Is she here?
B: She has gone out.
= She went out.


There has been an accident.
= There was an accident.


I have learned about the difference between the past tense and the present perfect tense a lot and my grammar book also says some native English speakers, especially some Americans use both tenses for the same meaning like the examples above, so I would like to know if you agree with this? I think that they could be used for the same meaning regardless of grammar difference. What do you think?


Thank you.

asked May 31 '13 at 22:25 Hans Contributor

5 answers


You are correct!In your examples those tenses have the same meaning.

link answered Jun 01 '13 at 00:11 Jeff Myers New member

I agree. In the US, each of your examples have the same meaning.

Patty TJun 01 '13 at 04:37

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I don't agree entirely with the last response. The past perfect and past simple may be used semantically in a similar way, but present perfect is different. Use the past simple purely to report on a past event - it took place at a specific time in the past. The timeline is ENTIRELY past; however, use the present perfect to link this past event somehow to the present. There are various links to the present, but in your examples the link is: importance to the present. In other words, you could say: I lost my keys, or: I have lost my keys. In the case of the former, you're merely reporting the past event; in the case of the latter, you're adding that this past event is somehow important to the present. Always look for the link to the present when using the present perfect. The difference is semantically important.

link comment answered Jun 01 '13 at 03:22 Ahmad Barnard Expert

She went out (yesterday) is an action completed in the past.  According to that sentence, she may be in now.  She has gone out shows that she is not here now.

link comment answered Jun 01 '13 at 04:20 Z. A. Jazley Expert

I stand corrected! Thanks!

link comment answered Jun 03 '13 at 20:18 Jeff Myers New member

Yeah, I agree with you, when I read at the first time I felt a little struggle to understand but after a moment I got the point. 

link comment answered Oct 29 '16 at 21:57 Sarfroash Ali New member

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