1. I can’t go because I’ve broken my leg.=====> Is the present perfect necessary here? Can we say"…because I broke my leg."

  2. You look hot.----Yes, I have been running.=====> Can we say “I was running”?

  3. He went out before I had finished my sentence.=====> Can we say"…before I finished my sentence" ?


  1. You could get away with it, but as your leg is still broken, the present tense is far more natural.
  2. ‘have been’ implies you were probably doing it as an exercise activity. ‘Was’ is probably an indication that you did it out of necessity to catch something/be somewhere on time.
  3. yes.

Hi Ruifeng,

In sentence (1) there is a clear difference between the two sentences. The present perfect ‘have broken’ links exactly with ‘I can’t go’ (present) because they both refer to the present situation. ‘I broke’ indicates that you did this earlier and there is a suggestion that you are going to say when this was. Exactly the same applies in (2) except that in this case the tenses are in the continuous form.


  1. I have broken my leg twice the last year.(last year means, like, 2011; and the last year means the period of time of 365 days up to now?)=====> Can I say “I broke my leg twice the last year?”

  2. I’ve lived in China for 3 years.====> what does it mean: 1. I still live in China. 2. I am not in China now, but I have been there for 3 years.

  3. I lived in China for 3 year. ====> If I am not in China now, it means “I once lived in China for 3 year”, right? If I am in China now, it means"I have been in China before, and I stayed for three years", right?


In (4) you need to say ‘last year’ and the tense should be ‘I broke’. If you want to use the present perfect to relate the ‘breaking’ with now. you need to say: I have broken my leg twice during the last 12 months/the last year.

In (5) the present perfect could mean you are still there but if you want to indicate clearly that you are still there, you would say: I have been living. In (6) you are simply stating that this is what you did over a period of 3 years.


Sorry, Alan, I don’t quite get it.

Chech this conversation to see if it works, I made it up myself.

(In China)
A: Where have you been?
B: I have been in China all the time. I lived here for 3 years already.


In (B) you need to say:I have been in China all the time. I HAVE lived here for 3 years already.

So, if the period of time is up to now, you have to use “I have lived in China for 3 years.”

Then what about this one:
(In China)
A: Where else did you live when you were a kid?
B: China. I lived in China for three years.


(At a meeting.)

A: (Changing her mind) I [color=red]change my vote. I vote for impeachment.

Is the use of the simple present correct? If so, can we also use “I am changing…”, or “I changed” or “I’ll change…” or “I’ve changed…”? What is the difference?

Simple present is correct because she is changing her mind about her vote as she speaks.

The only one that is incorrect is ‘I changed’ because it’s not an action that she has already completed.

The use of the present tense here is not so much a description of what she is now doing but more describing her intention along the lines of: I know what I’ll do, I’ll change mi mind and vote …