Confusing tenses with news (present perfect vs. past simple)
- When we first introduce news, we tend to use the present perfect tense:
The president has announced new tax hikes.
A small car accident on the freeway has caused major traffic jams.
Actor and producer Michael Richardson has died.
Have you heard the latest about Jenny and Chandler?
- However, after that, we switch immediately to the past tense.
The president has announced tax hikes. He said they were a necessary evil.
A small car accident has caused major traffic delays. Cars were stopped for three miles.
Actor Michael Richardson has died. He was 86.
Have you heard the latest about Jenny and Chandler? Apparently, she caught him at a nice restaurant with her best friend!
- Keep in mind, this type of tense usage is limited to news giving, and is not really used in other contexts. But it’s useful to know because people love giving news (especially if it’s gossip!)
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