Grammar Guru: Which tense is correct here?

Which tense is correct here?

  1. I saw Judith recently at an event held for new students.
    Grammar logic: The event is over.
  2. I’ve seen Judith recently at an event held for new students.
    Grammar logic: “Recently”, like “this morning”, is a time word connected to the present perfect.

Why did you choose the one you chose?

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Anne

Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

4 thoughts on “Grammar Guru: Which tense is correct here?”

  1. You give away the answer with your grammar logic tip. The second one doesn’t work in the present perfect, because it is still referring to a specific moment in the past. The pastness of that moment is only implied, but nonetheless real.

    This sentence says nothing about a specific moment in time: “I have been to the zoo.” But this sentence implies a specific moment:: “I saw her at the zoo.”

  2. Agree! Keywords are not enough to determine which tense is used. This is not always easy for English learners, though.

    But does this ever happen to you:
    I sometimes find myself changing tenses in mid-thought.
    I might start responding to the question “Have you seen her recently?” – or even better: “Have you seen her lately?” with a “Yes in fact I have, it was at an event for new students.” And that might get condensed into what sounds like a present perfect sentence. “Yes in fact I have, at an event for new students.”

  3. Sure. Your example sounds natural enough to me.

    Of course, living in North America, as I am, I have to hear native speakers use the simple past when they should be using the present perfect. Classic example from a children’s song: “Did you ever see a whale with a polka-dot tale?” (Raffi)

  4. Final count:
    I saw Judith recently at an event held for new students. (85%, 11 votes)
    I’ve seen Judith recently at an event held for new students. (15%, 2 votes)

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