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Thanks Richard,

But Parrott said on page 187:*

"We occasionally choose to use the present perfect simple with expressions of finished time (e.g. I have seen him yesterday) because , despite the adverb [yesterday], we [feel] that the event is within a present time period.

* Grammar for English Language Teachers
That's fine for Parrott. I find this very odd, and not just for AmE, but for BrE as well. That's my experience with the language on both sides of the Atlantic.

The British tend to use the present perfect more frequently than Americans do, but I personally have never seen a "clash" in either form of English such as Parrott suggests with the use of the present perfect and an adverb like yesterday in the same breath.

Rachel has very generously informed me that Swan* makes mention of this odd occurrence, but he gives a very interesting explanation as to why it may happen. Here's what Rachel pointed out that Swan says:

"Grammars usually say that the present perfect cannot be used together with expressions of finished time - we can say I have seen him or I saw him yesterday, but not I have seen him yesterday. In fact, such structures are unusual but not impossible (though learners should avoid them). They often occur in brief news items, where space is limited and there is pressure to announce the news and give the details in the same clause.

Here are some real examples taken from news broadcasts,... and conversations.

Police have arrested more than 900 suspected drug traffickers in raids throughout the country on Friday and Saturday.

A 24-year-old soldier has been killed in a road accident last night.

I am pleased to confirm that Lloyds Bank ... has opened a Home Loan account for you on 19th May.

Thank you very much, Rachel! Smile

To sum up, I'd just like to reiterate that this use of the present perfect with past time phrases or adverbs is really quite a rare occurrence in everyday speech and writing even in BrE. And, as Swan wisely points out, it's not something that people learning English should adopt as a usual way to use the present perfect.


*Michael Swan. Practical English Usage. Oxford University Press. 2005
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I want to add that I've learned about the more frequent use of the present perfect in British English than in American English during my tenure as moderator on the Grammar Exchange.

As I've said, one does -- and "one" includes me -- learn a lot on this website!

While researching this very point in various references, I came to realize that the British do sometimes use the present perfect with a definite time reference, whereas we North Americans don't. It was only after reading several grammars -- like Swan, which Richard quoted -- and listening more carefully to British newscasters on the BBC that I learned this.

Nevertheless, while it may be right in British English to use the present perfect with the definite time reference, you would certainly be correct, also, to use the simple past. And of course, in North America, you would be expected to use the simple past.

The present perfect vs. the simple past is one of the most popular topics on our newsgroup. Take a look at this thread --

-- and be sure to click on the link in the last posting -- it has 14 more informative discussions on this very topic.

What about the following:

Under the Present perfect and definite past time point 353 "Cambridge Grammar Of English" by Cater & McCarthy, what follows is stated:

In spoken and written journalistic styles, the present perfect is sometimes used to stress the current relevance of events, even though definite past time adjuncts may be present:

[speaker is speaking in 1998, i.e. not ˜the early 1990s']
We've lost so much of our manufacturing industry in the 1980s and early 1990s.

A man has been arrested last night and will appear in court tomorrow.
The BNC (British National Corpus) shows only instances of

"I saw him yesterday"

The Principal of St John's declared roundly that he was a lunatic; 'I saw him yesterday afternoon walking down the Bailey with one foot on the pavement and one foot in the gutter all the

I saw him yesterday.

`I saw him yesterday,' she said

but not of the other.

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