I see quite often wording like " the ship has sailed on the 10th of August" while in other case the same meaning is expressed as " the ship sailed on 10th of August".

I would like to know which one of the two above esxpressions if the correct one.

Thanks in advance for your assistance and clarifications.


9 Answers


The ship sailed on the 10th of August is correct. (Has sailed is incorrect in this case)

when you specify an exact time in the past you need to use 'simple past' tense rather than 'present perfect'. The same way you would say 'I was born in 1990' rather than 'I have been born in 1990'.


we sailed across the Atlantic: voyage, travel by water, steam, navigate, cruise. 


we sail tonight: SET SAIL, put to sea, leave port, hoist sail, weigh anchor, shove off


also you can write the ship has beed sailed on 10th of August


clouds were sailing past: GLIDE, drift, float, flow, sweep, skim, coast, flit


a pencil sailed past his ear: WHIZZ, speed, streak, shoot, whip, buzz, zoom, flash; fly, wing, soar



to sail Infinitive

sail Present Simple

sails Present Simple (3rd pers. sing.)

sailed Past Simple

sailing Present Participle

will sail Future




Also, 'the ship has sailed' is an idiomatic expression, indicating a lost opportunity. For example, 'the ship has sailed, she is already married to someone else' .... But in this case you would not indicate the time when 'the ship has sailed', i.e. the time when the opportunity was lost ...


ahenus 11280
you can't use present perfect (have + past participle) when you name the exact time in the past. so saying 'the ship has sailed on 10 aug' is simply incorrect.

if you don't use the time expression, that is 'the ship has sailed', that's correct (and yes, it's also an idiom we use for missed opportunities).

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