When to use Past and when Present Perfect

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Iouri
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When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Iouri » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:29 pm

I read in my lessons that:
Another important thing to remember is that the Present perfect tense in Dutch is used when speaking of events which happend in the past. It is the most frequently used Past tense in Dutch

Is there a rule, when to use Past and when to use Present Perfect. It looks like it is not the same as in English.

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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Joke » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:19 pm

You're right, it's defenitely not the same as in English. I still make mistakes in English for exactly that reason...

It's not easy to give clear rules, but here are some guidelines:
http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.Re11
http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.Re14
Apart from this, I'm afraid it's a matter of learning by trial and error and paying attention to what Dutch people do when you read or hear Dutch.

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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Iouri » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:26 pm

Everything is very vague. Anyway, is it a big mistake if someone used simple past instead of present perfect?

Thanks a lot
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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Bert » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:42 pm

Iouri wrote:Everything is very vague. Anyway, is it a big mistake if someone used simple past instead of present perfect?

Thanks a lot
Well, that would be a tremendous mistake... No, just kidding. :)
You can find here some very useful example sentences:
http://educatie-en-school.infonu.nl/bui ... ngels.html

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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Iouri » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:54 pm

Thank you Bert.

This example screwed my brains even more,

That is an excerpt from the link you gave me

Simple Past Tense

Voorbeeld:
Gisteren ben ik van mijn fiets gevallen. – I fell from my bike yesterday.
Hij heeft vorige week de premier gezien. – He saw the Prime Minister last week.

I would say that this is Present perfect
-----------------------------------------------

Present Perfect

Voorbeeld:
Lisa is al vijf jaar mijn vriendin. – Lisa has been my girlfriend for five years now.

I would say that this is simple present
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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Bert » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:30 pm

Iouri wrote:Voorbeeld:
Gisteren ben ik van mijn fiets gevallen. – I fell from my bike yesterday.
It's not that difficult. You can see from the example above that the Dutch usually use present perfect where you would use simple past. There are other rules as well but this is the most important in my opinion.

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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Iouri » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:33 pm

So, if I want to say something in the past I ALWAYS can use Present Perfect?
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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Joke » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:02 pm

Iouri wrote:Thank you Bert.

This example screwed my brains even more,

That is an excerpt from the link you gave me

Simple Past Tense

Voorbeeld:
Gisteren ben ik van mijn fiets gevallen. – I fell from my bike yesterday.
Hij heeft vorige week de premier gezien. – He saw the Prime Minister last week.

I would say that this is Present perfect
-----------------------------------------------

Present Perfect

Voorbeeld:
Lisa is al vijf jaar mijn vriendin. – Lisa has been my girlfriend for five years now.

I would say that this is simple present
You are right. The site Bert linked to is meant for teaching Dutch people how to use the tenses in English. The tenses mentioned are correct for the English sentences, but not for the Dutch translations. I think the most important lesson you can learn here is that English and Dutch indeed do use different tenses to say the same thing, but it's probably not the most useful site to learn about Dutch.

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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Iouri » Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:46 pm

Thank you Joke.

Please confirm that I understand it correctly.
I can use either simple past or present perfect tense for the past events
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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Joke » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:57 am

In principle, you can, but in reality, usually one sounds much better than the other.
We often use the simple past to describe situations in the past and the past perfect to describe events.

Wat is er gebeurd? (Asking for events, present perfect.)
Terwijl ik lag te slapen (situation, simple past), is er bij me ingebroken (event, present perfect).
Vroeger luisterde ik altijd naar popmuziek. (situation in the past, simple past)
Ik heb gisteren een nieuw boek gekocht (event, present perfect).

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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Iouri » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:40 pm

Thank you.

Now it is getting warmer
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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by inbox » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:03 pm

From where I learned Dutch the first time, the teacher said that imperfectum is more for informal conversation and for written perfectum is more used. Well I don't know whether that s true :-?

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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by ngonyama » Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:12 am

If it is any consolation Iouri, for me imperfective and perfective aspect verbs in Russian are equally baffling. Especially in forms like the imperative or the infinitives. (What is the difference between извините and извиняете?)

Although I do think there is a bit of overlap with what Dutch does with imperfects and perfect presents and I wonder how useful it would be for a Russian speaker to think of it in those terms.

E.g. when talking about something that lasted a while in the past you'd typically use an imperfect. I think Russian would use an imperfective verb. (?)

Hij lag in bed en piekerde over zijn problemen. - he was lying in bed and ruminated about his problems.

The perfect is used for statements of fact about the past:

Hij heeft gisteren geen televisie gekeken - he did not watch any television yesterday

Perfective verb in Russian. I think, but I don't think the correspondence is anyway near 100%

Sometimes adverbs like 'al' are used in Dutch to add duration

Zij is al 3 jaar mijn vriendin - she is my girlfried and it has been that way 3 y already.

Notice that "Zij is 3 jaar mijn vriendin geweest" implies that she is no longer your girlfriend (the sentence is perfect, in the sence of: it is over and finished).

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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Iouri » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:47 am

I'll try to figure this out. SO far my objective is to understand and to make people understand me.

Thank you very much
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Re: When to use Past and when Present Perfect

Post by Iouri » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:15 am

Ngonyama,

You got me started on the
(What is the difference between извините and извиняете?)
I know perfectly how to use it, but it is difficult to explain. Now I am thinking how would I explain it to a foreigner.
I think that извините (sorry, or excuse me) is an imperative and извиняете is used in a question or statement
Вы извиняете меня? - question
Он извиняет его за его ошибки. - statement
There are only 3 tenses in Russian, but there are a lot is expressed by prefixes and suffixes.
If you are interested to discuss it, email or skype me, not to distract people in this forum from dutch.
I will be happy to exchange your dutch to my russian.
Iouri
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