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Present Perfect vs Past Simple - Rules and exercises for intermediate level

Written by
Friday, 04 September 2009
Example of present perfect vs past simple: She has lived in Paris for seven years (she still lives in Paris).  She lived in Paris (now she lives somewhere else). This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

A comparison between the present perfect and the past simple with a clear explanation of the differences between these two tenses with examples and exercises to help you learn. This online lesson in English grammar is designed for intermediate level students.

Different uses of the present perfect and the past simple:

Present Perfect - indefinite

• She has lived in Paris for seven years (she still lives in Paris).

• Carl has lost his wallet (he doesn't have his wallet now)

• I have written several poetry ( I can still write some more).

- They 've been married for a long time.
- She has gone there recently.
- I haven't seen her since April.
- I've already sent the email.
- We haven't read the book yet.

Past Simple - definite

• She lived in Paris (now she lives somewhere else).

• Carl lost his wallet yesterday.

Shakespeare wrote 29 plays ( he can't write any more).

- I saw Mary last week.
- We visited the museum three days ago.
- She went to the cinema yesterday.
- I tried to call her at 9 o'clock.
- They bought a green car in 1998.

Present perfect and the past simple: be careful!

In English we use the past simple when an action is completed and finished in the past and there's no direct connection with the present, or we want to specify the time. We use the present perfect when an action happened in the past but the effects are still present at the moment we are speaking.

N.B. Be careful with 'this morning/ this afternoon' etc.
Have you sent the email this morning? (It's still morning).
Did you send the email this morning? (It's afternoon or evening).

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Published in Present Perfect Tense
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Last modified on Sunday, 05 February 2017 22:22

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