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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > wrote/has written    

wrote/has written


wrote/has written
I know all the rules about the simple past and the present perfect, but which one would you use in the following sentence?
Shakespeare wrote a lot of plays
Shakespeare has written a lot of plays
I would say they are both correct (with just a different focus), even if I prefer the first one, beacause Shakespeare is dead.
I know the rules, but still I īm not sure about this sentence.
Can you help me please?
Thanks a lot!

20 Jan 2012      


Hi Chiara
I īd use the first one (Past Simple)

20 Jan 2012     


The second one implies that Shakespeare is still alive, and he īs not. I īd use the Past Simple.

20 Jan 2012     


Thank you!!

20 Jan 2012     


Shakespeare wrote a lot of plays
 Shakespeare has written a lot of plays

Actually, it depends on the context and the focus.
 "Shakespeare wrote a lot of plays" usually goes along with something like " in the XVII th century" "during his life".....to associate the sentence with a particular temporal marker whereas with "Shakespeare has written a lot of plays", the present perfect implies that you īre interested in the present consequences of this sentence. This doesn īt really sound logical as there īs too big a gap between the present and Shakespeare īs time.
So, the first one sounds the best provided you add a temporal marker.

20 Jan 2012     


If you are talking about a dead person, then it īs always the past simple. And that īs that!

20 Jan 2012     


wrote           as he is not alive any longer.

20 Jan 2012     


I agree with the first part of the last answer, however I think that using the present perfect is ok as it is a statement of fact. eg:

Shakespeare has written a lot of plays, among them Romeo and Juliet.

I am trying to find another example where you could use this construction...

Elvis has had many hits records.

Churchill has been influential in establishing democracy in Europe.

It may have to do with the objects still being with us! I am not sure, but all of these sound ok to my native ears ;-)

20 Jan 2012     


@cindyfresken - I īd use the simple past.
Shakespeare wrote a lot of plays including Romeo and Juliet....
Elvis had many hit records.
Churchill was influential...

20 Jan 2012     

Czech Republic

I agree with Apodo, Duygu, Zora, Stellam.

Past simple with dead people.

(Present perfect with people alive, past simple with activities finished some time ago
J.K. Rowling has written 11 books.
(- so far she has written 11 books, she can still write some more, she is alive.)
J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007. (finished action)

Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliett a long time ago. (finished action)

(or you can use passive: Romeo and Juliett was written by Shakespeare.)

Present perfect + Shakespeare? 
The only example that comes to my mind:

A new sonet by Shakespeare has been discovered! (it means that somebody has RECENTLY discovered a long lost Shakespeareīs work)
(Thatīs present perfect passive = has been + V3)

or Past Perfect with dead people: Elvis had sung many hits before he started drinking.

21 Jan 2012     


R.I.P. Shakespeare, so past simple should be used. Dead

A possible exception would be Elvis, for who(m) you could used present perfect if you believe he īs still alive. Pig

21 Jan 2012     

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