CEVAPLA - English

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Difference between past simple and present perfect
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platypus-rex profile picture platypus-rexAugust 2017
past simple is only one word in a declarative sentence but 2 words in question.
Present perfect is always 2 words: the auxiliary verb and the main verb. Simple present refers to something done at anytime in the past. But present perfect means that an action was done before the present moment.
The difference is subtle and many ESL speakers don't get it, and don't need it for everyday situations, but for literature and advanced English, you need to know the difference.
Felixos890 profile picture Felixos890January 2015
Hi, I've a question, what is the difference between the simple past and the present perfect?

When must I use one or the other method?
  • GinaPanina profile picture GinaPaninaAugust 2017
    We usualy use past simple when the situation you are talking of has happened a long time ago. E.g. He wrote a book.
    We also use it when we talk of some specific moment in the past e.g. in 1977; yesterday; last week/month/year; two days ago; So, we say "Last month I told my boss about my pregancy"
    However when we talk about anything that happened recently, e.g. this morning, two hours ago ; few moments ago - we should use present perfect. - "I have seen her this morning at the university."
    Hope it helps
  • bill_hatfi profile picture bill_hatfiAugust 2017
    You probably know what the simple past is. Examples include "He went to the store" and "He was working late."

    Past perfect is a little trickier, but you can always tell a verb is past perfect (also called pluperfect): It always has a "had" in front of it.

    It means that something happened in the past and it was completed before some other point in the past. "The man had driven 40 miles before the police caught up with him." "She had written an essay on the topic last year."
vincent profile picture vincentJanuary 2015
Thanks for asking a question related to language learning