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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Past simple or present perfect? Or both?    

Past simple or present perfect? Or both?


Past simple or present perfect? Or both?
Hi! I need your help, please!
In the sentence:
Mary, where ... the star? I want to put it at the top of the tree.

A mother tongue student told me that the following answers are both correct:


  1. have you put?
  2. did you put?


I thought that only a was correct because there wasn’t a  definite time and as the sentence is very short, the context is little extended to use a past simple. What do you think?


Thanks a lot for your answer!

15 Jan 2013      


Hi, Anneclaire, I agree with you . As far as I know "Where have you put the star ?" is the right option cause   Present Perfect Tense is used  to talk about a past action that has the result in the present (at this moment we don´t know where the star is , the star is missing) Hope you find it useful. Cheers

15 Jan 2013     

United Kingdom

Both sound fine.  If you use (b) it would suggest that the star had been put somewhere at a previous time whereas (a) suggests that the star has only just been moved.

15 Jan 2013     


You & Flori are right; the correct answer is (a) coz the one who is asking the question in this context is not thinking of the past action of putting the star, he is thinking of the present result of the action which is :he can ´t find it  now. 

15 Jan 2013