Present Perfect or Past Simple Difference and Exercises (pdf)📓

Present perfect or past simple?

The difference between the past simple and the present perfect causes problems for many people. This is perhaps partly because there are several ways of using the present perfect.

Here are some guidelines to help you decide which tense to use.

chart showing differences between present perfect and past simple tense

Past simple

You use the past simple for completed actions in the past, often with an expression of time, e.g. yesterday, last week, in 2001, a few years ago, etc.

We took the dog to the vet’s yesterday.
I went to South Africa when I was a student.

Present Perfect

You use the present perfect (not the past simple) when it isn’t important when something happened. Often you’re talking about general experiences.

I’ve never been to a safari park before.
Have you seen this film?

◉Be careful! There is a difference between the participles been and gone.

Tom has been to Turkey.
{He went to Turkey and now he is back.)

Tom has gone to Turkey.
(He’s in Turkey now.)

☞You use the present perfect (not the past simple) to talk about recent past events, often with just, already and yet.

I’ve just seen Matt.
We’ve already told him.
Haven’t you finished that yet?

Note: In American English, it’s possible to use either the present perfect or the past simple with the adverbs just, already and yet. Both are correct .

Haven’t you finished that yet? OR Didn’t you finish that yet?

☞You use the present perfect (not the past simple or the present simple) to talk about an action that began in the past but is still going on now.

I’ve lived in Oxford for years.
She’s had that car since she was seventeen.

Note: You use for to say how long an action has been going on and since to say when the action started.

I’ve been here for ages.
They’ve lived in Siena for three years.

She’s known him since last year.
He’s had a cold since Friday.

Present perfect or past simple exercises with answers pdf:

  Download PDF Here I Download PDF Here II

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