Can a present tense have the meaning of perfect tense?

“But this is important.”
“Something you have to say is more important than the Ministry of Magic, Potter?”
“Look,” said Harry, throwing caution to the winds, “Professor—it’s about the Sorcerer’s Stone—”
Whatever Professor McGonagall had expected, it wasn’t that. The books she was carrying tumbled out of her arms, but she didn’t pick them up.
How do you know—?” she spluttered.
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

It seems that the highlighted part has the perfect tense meaning –– for “the perfect is a kind of past tense (SGEL,p78, 86)” and Harry’s knowing is preceding the speech time. He’ve known the fact and now he speaks out what he’s known. And ‘how do you know’ seems to contain all this. Can this be right, and the present also have the perfect tense meaning?


Stative verbs like know, love, be, express a state rather than an activity. States persist over time: once you know something or love something or are something you continue to know, love, be that without further effort. Consequently, these verbs are not usually used with perfect constructions unless you are addressing the duration of the state:

 I have known that for a long time.
 I have known that since last week.
I have known that.

Prof. McGonagall is not asking How long Harry has known about the Stone, but How it comes about that he knows it now.

You know about the Stone! How do you know about it?

marks a usage as unacceptable

Source : Link , Question Author : Listenever , Answer Author : StoneyB on hiatus

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