Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: Present perfect in Europe versus Past Simple in America
Question: Dear Ask a Linguist,

I've noticed that in Europe languages such as Italian, German,
French, Spanish and even English use the perfect to talk about
recent past whereas in America we use a simple form. For example,
people may say in Mexico ''Ayer compré pan'' (Yesterday, I ate bread)
while in Spain the same idea can be expressed as ''Ayer he comprado
pan'' (Yesterday, I have bought bread). If I translate into Italian
or French a perfect is also used. Why is that? What happened in
America that language users use Past simple (one word) to express
something that in these European languages is expressed by using an
auxiliary and past participle? When did this happen?

From: Alberto
Date: 21-Aug-2013
Replies:
  1. Re: Present perfect in Europe versus Past Simple in America    Susan D Fischer     (25-Aug-2013)
  2. Re: Present perfect in Europe versus Past Simple in America    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (22-Aug-2013)
  3. Re: Present perfect in Europe versus Past Simple in America    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (22-Aug-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions