Past Simple vs Present Perfect Simple


Objectives of today’s lesson:

In this lesson, Learn English with Julia presents to you “Past Simple v Present Perfect Simple”, in order for you to:

  • understand the difference between Past Simple and Present Perfect Simple
  • complete some Past Simple vs Present Perfect exercises
  • challenge yourself with a Past Simple vs Present Perfect test
  • make sure that you get further practice with present perfect and past simple exercises with answers


Video Script:

Hello and welcome back!
Let’s find out when to use the past simple and the present perfect simple. Now the forms!

First of all:
If we have a regular verb, in order to create the past simple we take the bare infinitive (infinitive without “to”) and add “-ED”.
For example: watch – watched

There are obviously some spelling changes notably “complete” which has a silent -E which we removed before adding “-ED”: “completed”

We also have plenty of irregular verbs for example “to teach” which becomes I “taught” in the past simple.
So please review your irregular verbs and watch the video on the “-ED” endings and their spelling.
That is for the form of the past simple. When do we use this tense?

We use it when we focus on a finished action:
For example: I booked my flights yesterday.

When we focus on a certain time in the past:
I spoke to him an hour ago.

or when we are referring to a specific action or event:
I went to the US last summer

That also answers the question: which signal words do I use with the past simple?
yesterday…, an hour ago…, two weeks ago…, last summer…, last month…, last week… and so on

Now that’s one of the main differences between the past simple and the present perfect simple
Well let’s start off with the form. We create the present perfect simple using “have” or “has” so “to have” as an auxiliary in the present simple + the past participle which we can create either by taking the bare infinitive and adding “-ED” or adding “-ED” with certain spelling changes or with an irregular form.

So let’s start off with “complete”: I have completed
or with an irregular verb, “to teach”: I have taught

When do we use this tense?
We use it when we focus on the result of an action in the past, the result in the present.

For instance: I have booked my flights

Or we use it with “just”, “already”, or “not yet”: I have just spoken to him

We can also use this tense when we want to find out whether or not we have done something or how often we have done it until now: I have been to the States several times before.

So we can use it with other signal words such as “never”: I have never seen this film up to now or lately.

So please get some practice so that it all makes sense and thanks for watching!


Grammar Quiz:


Keywords listed in English:

  • present perfect
  • past simple or simple past
  • past participle
  • tenses review
  • irregular verbs
  • -ED endings (pronunciation and spelling)

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