Present Perfect versus Past Simple Tense

The Past Simple is used to talk about actions in the past that have finished. It talks about then and doesn’t include now.

The Present Perfect is used to look back on actions in the past from the present. It always includes now.

These sentences are in the past with no connection to the present.

  • I first got to know him 10 years ago.
  • I started work here in 2005.
  • I had too much to eat at lunchtime.

Now look at these same situations seen from the present.

  • We have lived in London for 10 years.
  • She has been here since 6 o’clock.
  • My stomach hurts. I’ve eaten too much.

We use time expressions like yesterday, ago, last year, in 2012 with the Past Simple.

  • We spoke to him yesterday.
  • He came in a few moments ago.
  • We made our last purchase from them over a year ago.
  • She joined the company in 2012.

We use time expressions such as ever, never, since with the Present Perfect.

  • I’ve never seen so many people here before.
  • Have you ever been more surprised?
  • I’ve worked here since I left school.

Typical time expressions used with the Present Perfect in British English, but often used with the Past Simple in American English are already, just, yet.

I haven’t done it yet. (BE)

I didn’t do it yet. (AE)

I’ve just done it. (BE)

I just did it. (AE)

I’ve already done it. (BE)

I already did it. (AE)

U narednom vežbanju je potrebno da se u rečenicama opredelite za Present Perfect ili Past Simple. Rešenja se nalaze na dnu članka. 

Choose the correct answer:

1)    He ________ there when he was a child.

a)    has lived

b)    lived

2)    I ______ her since last year.

a)    haven’t seen

b)    didn’t see

3)    They ______ a few minutes ago.

a)    left

b)    have left

4)    She __________ unemployed since she left school.

a)    has not been

b)    was not

5)    She _______ since Thursday.

a)    was

b)    has been

6)    ________ the project last night.

a) have finished

b) finished

7) __________ to Italy?

a) Did you ever go

b) Have you ever been

8) I can’t get into my house because I ________ my keys.

a) lost

b) have lost

9) I _______ up smoking last year.

a) gave

b) have given

10) You can’t see her because she _______ home.

a) has gone

b) went

11) It’s the first time I _________ caviar.

a) ate

b) have eaten

12) It stinks in here; someone ___________ smoking.

a) was

b) has been

13) He’s in hospital because he ________ leg.

a) has broken

b) broke

14) The last time I saw Kate ______ ages ago.

a) was

b) has been

15) I _______ from her lately.

a) haven’t heard

b) didn’t hear

16) _________ to the concert on Friday?

a) Did you go

b) Have you been

17) This is the first time I _________ here.

a) have been

b) was

18) They _________ the contract yet.

a) didn’t sign

b) haven’t signed

19) The newspaper __________ very successful lately.

a) hasn’t been

b) wasn’t

20) I _________ breakfast before leaving home this morning.

a) haven’t had

b) didn’t have

21) John is nervous because he ___________ such a difficult test before.

a) has never taken

b) never took

22) Two people ________ at the game on Saturday.

a) were arrested

b) have been arrested

23) We _______ out on Saturday night.

a) haven’t gone

b) didn’t go

24) I _______ it last week.

a) bought

b) have bought

25) She ______ an absolute fortune last year.

a) has earned

b) earned

26) I ________ the dog for a walk because it was raining.

a) haven’t taken

b) didn’t take

27) The weather ________ dreadful at the weekend.

a) has been

b) was

Answer key:

  1. b
  2. a
  3. a
  4. a
  5. b
  6. b
  7. b
  8. b
  9. a
  10. a
  11. b
  12. b
  13. a
  14. a
  15. a
  16. a
  17. a
  18. b
  19. a
  20. a
  21. a
  22. a
  23. b
  24. a
  25. b
  26. b
  27. b
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