I have a question regarding the usage of "simple past tense" vs "presen perfect tense" . Sometimes I see they are both possible to talk about a finished action. I know we cannot use "present perfect tense" to talk about a finished action that have mentioned time frame. But my question is different. Suppose, something happened yesterday but I do not want to mention the time rather I want to describe what happened. In this kind of situation which tense is appropriate?

Here's the context:

  • bought/have bought a mobile. It has a stunning look and takes nice pictures. I am very happy with it.

Please note that I bought the phone yesterday. I know if I used yesterday in that sentence I had to use "simple past tense". But as I have not mentioned any time frame, Can I use both the tenses? 

Please also note that I just suddenly start a conversation with "I bought a mobile", with no preamble.

Original Post
subhajit123 posted:

I know we cannot use "present perfect tense" to talk about a finished action that have mentioned time frame. But my question is different. Suppose, something happened yesterday but I do not want to mention the time rather I want to describe what happened.

Hi, Subhajit: You can use a sentence like "I bought a new cell phone" without a time adverbial if the context in which you are using the sentence contains an implicit indication of the time frame. For example, if you are talking with a friend of yours and are asked, "What have you been up to?," you could reply, "I bought a new cell phone." It would be clear implicitly, from the surrounding social context, that you meant that you had bought a new cell phone recently.

Otherwise, without an implicit indication of a time frame, if you want to use the simple past, you need to use a time adverbial. It doesn't need to be an adverbial so specific as "yesterday." The adverb "recently" would work perfectly well. Sentences in the simple past need to be anchored to a time frame, explicitly or implicitly. Otherwise, how would your interlocutor know whether "I bought a new cell phone" meant that you did so recently or, say, fifteen years ago?

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