Sunday, October 29, 2017

Tense Tricks, Part 2: Past or Present Perfect?

Assume you are a manager emailing a direct report that you want to review her annual performance. Which of these two sentences would you prefer?:
  • I reviewed you performance. (past tense)
  • I have reviewed your performance. (present perfect tense) 
If you prefer the second one, I'm with you. Both are correct, the first one because you completed the review and the second because you just completed the review. But using the present perfect tense (have, has, or had + the past participle verb form) implies a greater sense of immediacy, suggesting that you have not wasted a moment from the time of the review to the time of communicating with the employee.