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This English lesson explains the difference between the past simple and the present perfect.
This is a difficult area for a lot of learners.
My job is to help you understand this difference. You’re going to get clear explanations and lots of examples.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TENSES
The past simple is used for actions that finished in the past and have no connection to the present.
The present perfect is used for actions that haven’t finished.
The example I gave is this:
– My grandma never went to Madrid
– Paul has never been to Madrid
My grandma died a long time ago. Therefore, the action of her (possibly) going to Madrid is over.
Paul is still alive. The action of him going or not going to Madrid continues.
We use the simple past with past time expressions. This includes:
– I went there YESTERDAY
– She told me TWO HOURS AGO
– They went to London IN 2002
Present time expressions are more difficult. What tense you use depends on what you’re talking about.
– I’ve had a great day (in general)
– I had a great day today (talking about work that has now finished)
The present perfect is stricter in British English. For example:
– Did you have breakfast yet? (you’ll hear this in American English)
– Have you had breakfast yet? (only in British English)
USING THE PRESENT PERFECT WITH JUST
– I just saw her (American English)
– I’ve just seen her (British English)
OTHER ENGLISH LESSONS RELATED ON THIS TOPIC:
– Present perfect simple vs continuous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oODlA-r7HU
For vs Since: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTddHN6ipmc
Been to vs been in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIl5hOQ5i-A
Present perfect with just: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpPVImrOmxA
Present perfect in the negative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3nx11zwhGU
Also, watch this video to learn more differences between British and American English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rtbvqb-_1E
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A: I grew up in Preston, Lancashire, England.
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A: I’ve been teaching English since 2011. I ❤️ it!
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