What's the difference? Present Perfect and Past Simple
|Present Perfect Simple||Past Simple|
|Unfinished actions that started in the past and continue to the present:
|A finished action in someone's life (when the person is still alive: life experience):
||A finished action in someone's life (when the person is dead):
|A finished action with a result in the present:
||A finished action with no result in the present:
|With an unfinished time word (this week, this month, today):
||With a finished time word (last week, last month, yesterday):
- We use the past simple for past events or actions which have no connection to the present.
- We use the present perfect for actions which started in the past and are still happening now OR for finished actions which have a connection to the present.
- We CAN'T use the present perfect with a finished time word:
- NOT: I've been to the museum yesterday.
- Present perfect or past simple exercise 1
- Present perfect or past simple exercise 2
- Present perfect or past simple exercise 3
- Present perfect or past simple exercise 4
If you want to learn more about the tenses, especially about how to use them when you're speaking, you could try my video course, Terrific Tenses, which is part of Perfect English Grammar Plus.