The present perfect always has a bearing on the present. It must be relevant now. If it’s not relevant now, then you should use another tense.
For example. If you’re talking about life experiences, you often use the present perfect because you’re talking about experiences that you’ve had in your life until now. So, you’ve travelled to many different countries in your lifetime. You’ve seen lots of wonderful things. You’ve read books, you’ve been to the theatre and you’ve attended music festivals. But you’ve never been skydiving, and that’s something that you’d really like to do.
When you talk about experiences, as in the above example, you talk about things that you’ve experienced until now. You don’t mention a specific time frame. We don’t know when any of these things happened, we just know that at some point until now, they occured.
If you want to pinpoint an experience to a particular time, use the past simple. For example: I went to the theatre last week. Or, I visited Mexico during my last vacation.
Top Tip: if you talk about a specific time, use the past simple. You may use words and phrases such as: yesterday, last week, last year, in 1999, on my birthday, etc.
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You’ve done the research, you’ve given your opinion, now you need to say to your partner/competitor, etc, « the ball is in your court ». Basically: it’s time for you to make a decision.
If you’re waiting for someone else to make a decision after discussing the issue and giving your opinion, you can also say of that person: the ball is in his/her court. Meaning that you’ve given them all the tools to decide and/or you’ve given your opinion, now it’s their turn to make a choice.
Imagine you’re watching your friend do something totally crazy, you can comment on the madness by saying to your fellow onlooker (the person who is watching with you): she’s off her rocker!
It tends to be a stand alone phrase, meaning that you don’t really use it within a long sentence. It’s more of a short expression you’d use to comment on someone’s action.
Let’s have another example:
You and your friend are at the mall and she sees a guy she has a crush on (that she likes). She decides to make a grand gesture and take control of the announcer’s microphone to declare her love for the guy. You can tell her, « Oh my goodness, you’re off your rocker. »
This idiom is generally used for funny situations rather than serious ones; you shouldn’t use it to speak of someone who has real mental health problems.
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I recently read a parenting novel (book?) entitled Bringing up bébé, by Pamela Druckerman, otherwise known as, French children don’t throw food. I had read that this book was funny, but it barely cracked a smile from me. It led me to ask myself, have I become French? The answer, however, is no. Although I’m sure I’ve absorbed some aspects of French culture, I’m sure I haven’t simply « become French », as my mom sometimes says.
What bothered me about the book was what was said about anglophone parenting in general. The author seems to say that anglophone parents let their children walk all over them, that they don’t give their kids any autonomy, and that they generally only live for their offspring. I found this to be absurd and wonder if it’s true. Now I’d almost like go conduct my own research into the topic! Almost, not quite though.
Let me explain. As I embark on my entrepreneurial adventure, I need to be OK with my 4 year old son taking care of himself. I simply can’t entertain him all day. Besides, what good would it do him? A person can’t possibly become autonomous if he or she has never had the chance to try it. A child will never learn to play on his or her own if they’ve never been given the opportunity. Today, my kid regularly plays on his own, even when we’re available to play with him. He invents stories for his toys, kind of like the little boy in Toy Story and finds all sorts of creative ways to alleviate his boredom. I’m not so sure that would have happened had we hovered over him, constantly trying to keep his attention.
At the risk of being called a terrible mother, I’ve generally found it quite boring to play with my son all day, particularly when he was very small. There are only so many peekabu games that I can handle. So, of course we played, we read and we went out; but he also had to learn, from the youngest age, that his parents need their own time. How did we do this? It was quite simply really. As young as a year old, when I noticed he was into an activity, I left him at it. I didn’t interrupt him. He would be playing with rocks or sticks or some other object, and sometimes he’d do it for 30 to 40 minutes. Gradually, this would happen more and more often.
This has come in particularly useful while working from home. Our son can play by himself an entire morning. He does, of course, ask questions or make comments every once in a while, but unless I have a class planned, I don’t need to put him in front of the TV or occupy him any other way, he knows how to « entertain » himself.
What are your thoughts? Have you read this book? Have you had experiences similar to mine? I’d be curious to find out!
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