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Present perfect or past simple?

Average: 3 (90 votes)

This lesson was requested by khoukha and is a quick review of how we use the present perfect and the past simple.

Past Simple

We use this tense for things that happened at a definite time in the past.
E.g. "I met my best friend when I was fifteen."
It is formed by adding '-ed' to regular verbs.

Present Perfect

This tense describes something that happened in the past, but that is related to something in the present.
E.g. "I have read three books by Charles Dickens."

It is also used to talk about life experiences, recent events or states or things that started in the past and hasn't changed.
"I have been to America."
"I have just finished my dinner."
"I've worked for EC since 2008."

The important thing to remember is that the present perfect is related to the present in some way. Whereas, the past simple happened at a specific time in the past and is a finished action.


In the following sentences, which tense is needed?

Lesson by Caroline

Link: Can you name the tenses?

  • 1. She (go) to Spain last year to study Spanish.
  • 2. I (be) really good friends with Philippa since I was 14.
  • 3. I (try) so many different types of chocolate, I think I'm an expert.
  • 4. I(break) my leg last year.
  • 5. Oh no, look! Zoe (eat) all the cake!
  • 6. She (finish) her degree in 2003.
  • 7. I think I (read) all the books Jodi Picoult has written so far.
  • 8. I went to the shops yesterday and (buy) lots of food for everyone.
  • 9. I really (love) my Grandmother. She was an amazing person.
  • 10. I'm sorry, Emily isn't here. She (go) to the shops.