- I have spent almost eight and lonely years in prison.
- I spent almost eight and lonely years in prison.
I am confused about using “have” with a past tense verb.
The second sentence is correct if you remove “and” from the sentence:
- I spent almost eight lonely years in prison.
This sentence is using the Past Simple Tense, it talks about an event that occurred and ended in the recent or distant past.
The first sentence is incorrect as it is using the Present Perfect Tense while specifying the time “eight lonely years”. The Present Perfect Tense is used to talk about an event that happened at an unspecified time in the past and has just ended.
To form this tense you put have/has with the past participle. This tense is very useful if you want to talk about a persons experience. For example:
- I have spent lonely years in prison.
- He has visited Argentina.
- We have gone to that restaurant.
- The doctor has become very talented.