Present Perfect Tense: the first few comments

Who knew that the Present Perfect tense would become a party topic of conversation. It has. And not just with my nerdy grammar friends either. Ever since I mentioned it in my bio on the English Over Easy site, I have had lots of comments, questions and requests. Surprise. I have a lot to say so I will write a few posts. But today let's begin with cookies. The edible variety.

Look at the picture of the cookies. Read:

Jim: I have eaten 2 cookies.

Ellen: Were they good?

Jim: Delicious.

Now notice that Jim used the Present Perfect tense and NOT the Simple Past. By using the Present Perfect he told you a few things. The first thing Jim is letting  you know is that his eating of the cookies was relatively recent. Maybe in the last hour say. The results of his eating ( pigginess?!) are still in his stomach. And he is signaling that there is a possibility that he will repeat the action. In other words, he might have another cookie. He is telling us that there are in fact more cookies so he can in fact have another one or two or .....If he had used the Simple Past saying " I ate 2 cookies" all we would know was that he had eaten the cookies. Nothing more. Isn't that cool? So in the next few days listen. Listen carefully and pay attention to all those secret bits of information you are being given.