The perfect and the preterite in Australian and New Zealand English

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The distinction between the present perfect and the preterite verb forms is one of the comparatively few points of English grammar where clear differences have been noted between the various national varieties, not least between American and British English: it has often been pointed out that the present perfect is used more extensively in the latter variety. This chapter takes up the distribution of the two verb forms in Australian and New Zealand English. A wide use of the present perfect is documented in both antipodean varieties, but especially in Australian English. At the same time a trend is recorded for younger speakers of Australian English to be moving in the direction of the more restrictive American English norm.


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