You are here:

General Writing and Grammar Help/RE: Over the past/last year

Advertisement


Question
Dear Ted:

You forgot to answer this question:

Should I use the simple past or the present perfect tense with "over the past/last YEAR"?

A British English teacher has just given me the following explanation:

The phrase 'over the past year' refers to a period of time, beginning a year ago and including all the time up to the present. It is similar to 'for the last year', or 'since a year ago'. For this reason, we use the present perfect.

What do you think? Do you agree?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

I am sorry that I missed that question.  I'll blame it on my toothache and all the medicine I have been taking.

***

You forgot to answer this question:

Should I use the simple past or the present perfect tense with "over the
past/last YEAR"?

A British English teacher has just given me the following explanation:

The phrase 'over the past year' refers to a period of time, beginning a year ago
and including all the time up to the present. It is similar to 'for the last
year', or 'since a year ago'. For this reason, we use the present perfect.

What do you think? Do you agree?

*** I agree with "over the past year."  "Last year" is different.  Let's say that the fiscal year ended on December 31, 2012.  

At today's meeting [August 7, 2013], the company president said, "Last year we earned more than 50% more than we did the year before."

In this sentence, the past tense is used, not the present perfect.

Ted  

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

Experience

I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.