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English as a Second Language/I've broken my arm or I broke my arm


I figured that present perfect is used when there's a connection to the present. So for instance if someone asks me why my arm is in a cast. I should reply using present perfect "Because I've broken it". But "Because I broke it" feels kind of natural too. So which one should I use?
P.S. This is just hypothetical situation that popped into my mind.

Hey Cyril!

This is a pretty common but important question.

Technically, you are right: if the main purpose of the statement or question is to connect a past event to the present, the present perfect simple tense should be used.  If the main purpose is to inform when in the past an event happened, then the past simple tense should be used.

However, colloquially the two tenses are often used interchangeably.  This means that if you are writing or trying to speak English correctly, you should make a distinction.  However, if you are having a conversation, you can generally use either one.

Hope that helps!

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Brian Connelly


I can answer pretty much any question a student might have about English; about grammar, vocabulary, meanings of words, phrases, expressions or idioms, pronunciation, etc. I can answer questions about how to learn or study English better, how to improve certain aspects of communication (listening, writing, speaking, etc), about why we have certain rules.


I've been teaching English in Japan, mainly as a private (one-to-one) teacher, but also at companies such as Universal Studios or international airports. I have taught professional interpreters and translators and I have also taught students who dropped out of high school and never learned any English. Several years ago I acquired the CELTA and I have been running my own classroom for the past year.

None in particular, but I work with a number of companies who regularly introduce me to new students and occasionally to other companies that are looking for English teachers.


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I currently have approximately 40 individual students with whom I work one on one. I have also worked with local manufacturing companies, colleges, local retailers, as well as Sharp, Universal Studios, Itami International Airport, Kobe International Airport

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