Past simple or present perfect

Questions from teachers about English grammar and usage

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Past simple or present perfect

Unread post by veselina » Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:24 pm

Hello,i would be glad if someone can help me.I came accross to the following sentence- When the boss .......(walked)into the room,we ........(know )someone was going to get fired.I can understand why is used past simple ,but i dont know how to explain it because there aren't any signal word for any of the tense and doesn't match any of the uses.

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Re: Past simple or present perfect

Unread post by cerealkillah » Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:51 pm

First of all, you cannot use any of the present tenses (not only Present perfect), because you already have past tense in "was going to".
Second, we use present perfect when there is some reference to the present. Here, we have no such reference.
Hope that helps.

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Re: Past simple or present perfect

Unread post by keith » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:30 pm

Hi Veselina

Both of the actions in this sentence are completed actions in the past:

- the boss walked into the room - completed action
- we knew someone was going to get fired - completed action

When we have actions which are completed in the past and have no connection/link with the present, we use past simple. (Sometimes when there are two actions involved we can use past perfect for one of them, but that's another question!!)

Hope that helps.

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