100% GOOD (1 votes)AnsweredLanguage Question
Can't understand difference between Past Simple and Present Perfect
  • 13 answers
Tace profile picture TaceJune 2019
I understand your difficulty with this. Here is something I pulled off of the web:

The present perfect is a grammatical combination of the present tense and perfect aspect that is used to express a past event that has present consequences.

The part that is confusing you is that the Present Perfect discusses a past event. It might be less confusing if the name of the tense indicated this anomaly.

Present Perfect: I have eaten.
Past Simple: I ate.

So, in the first example sentence, we see the helping verb, "have." This is a present tense verb. Then we have the verb, "eaten," which took place in the past, hence the confusion.

From what I can tell, я съел would be the Past Simple, and Я уже поел would be the Present Perfect.

In google translate I had to add the word "already" to get what I believe would be the best way to show you the equivalent in Russian. If you understand it in Russian, then maybe it will help understand it in English.

I chat with a Russian teacher, so I'll discuss it with her and see what she says.

  • User_341521 profile picture User_341521July 2019
    Thank you very much for all your answers. It was very interesting to receive this information from a native speaker.
  • Tace profile picture TaceJuly 2019

    I really don't want to confuse you. I think you explained it very well in your original conclusion. Now I don't want to leave your question unanswered, but I don't want to confuse you.

    Time is important in as much as it creates the tense we are using. I will say that. I really think you should take your understanding and use the past and present perfect as though you understand them. If you find you made an error, bring it up again and don't feel bad.

    You DO understand. The one thing I will say now is this.

    The Simple Past and the Present Perfect might be interchangeable, but if someone asks you a question with the present perfect, you should probably answer with the present perfect.
  • User_341521 profile picture User_341521July 2019
    Yes, i understood, thank you again. But can this be explained as follows: An action when the time is not important, the action itself is important?
  • Tace profile picture TaceJuly 2019

    Everything you said is correct.

    Could you explain the difference between:

    I smoked three cigarettes this morning.
    I have smoked three cigarettes this morning?
  •  July 2019
    " I have never smoked"
    that means I have never smoked, from the past and until now. But we do not know, I could smoke one day in the future.

    so we use the present perfect whene we tolk about an event which happends during a periode of time extends from the past and until now (the moment of speeking).

    But look in this sentence :" I smoked three sigarettes this morning." the event (smok) happend in the past and it is over now.

    have understood the difference?!