Use of the present perfect for repetitive actions

I’ve already searched a lot on the web, but still can’t figure out one specific example.

For instance:

  1. Mary has been to England twice.

  2. Alice has been to the cinema twice this week. (= The week is still not over)

I completely understand why we use the present perfect in the above sentences.

But here is a confusing example:

  1. We’ve often talked about emigrating.

If it describes a repetitive action in the past and they still perform the action up to this moment, then how is that different from simple present?

  1. We often talk about emigrating.


There are four different senses of the Perfect construction.
This is an example of the Existential sense.

  • Existential Perfect: Lola has seen “Casablanca” 23 times.
    Describes at least a single occurrence of some past event.

As for using the perfect versus the present

  • We’ve often talked about emigrating.

  • We often talk about emigrating.

Both can be used to describe the same situation.
Aside from the obvious differences in form, though,
there isn’t much meaning difference between them.

Just because the tense changes doesn’t mean the phenomenon does.
Nor does tense take account of other important differences in behavior, habits, and intentions.

Source : Link , Question Author : Sam Farjamirad , Answer Author : John Lawler

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