3.2. The past tense and the present perfect form
To understand more the differences between the past tense and the present perfect form (PrPF), the two are compared in this section.
The two express the past events, and they depend on the speaker's mind. See the following examples.
a. We lived in Hakodate for five years.
b. We have lived in Hakodate for five years.
The past tense of (21a) means the separation from the present, and the speakers do not live there now. See the following figure.
This "five years" spreads from one past to the other past.
But PrPF means the relationship with the present. See the following figure.
This "five years" spreads from a certain past to the present, thus the speakers still live there now.
See the following examples.
a. Did you ever meet John?
b. Have you ever met John?
You can choose them as you like, which do you use?
It depends on the speaker's mind, too. If s/he puts the definite past in mind, (24a) is used, if not, (24b) is used.
See the following two figures.
a. Past tense
b. Present perfect form
The difference is only one, the point of M. When M is put at the past, it means the separation from the present. When it is put at the present, it means the relationship.
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