What is the difference between the present perfect and simple past tense
We’re going to look at the difference between the present perfect and simple past tense in English grammar. It seems quite tricky for most English learners to realize where they have to choose between these two tenses. Having good control of grammar and using a wide rage of grammatical structures are of the things mentioned in IELTS marking criteria and can make you successful in writing or speaking parts of the IELTS test. It can also play a key role in boosting scores in the test.
In this article, we provide information on the differences between two the present perfect and simple past tenses.
Simple Past Tense
Simple past tense is related to a situation in which an action has been performed and completed in the past. It happened at a specific time in past. That particular time is usually reported either with time expressions or ideas having come in or around it.
A: Simple past tense structure
the subject+ the second form of a verb (+ the rest of the sentence including object, time expressions and …)
B: Past form of verbs
In the simple past, the past form of verbs (the second form of verbs) must be used. These verbs are either regular, getting ‘-ed’ at their end, or irregular that must be memorized.
C: Uses of the simple past tense
1- Something that was done and completed in the past
2- A habit in the past tense
3- Something that was done and completed in a certain period of time in the past
4- Two things was done and completed at the same time in the past
5- The past tense in the second conditional in ‘if clause’
D: Adverbs of Simple past tense
In the past tense, adverbs or time expressions that refer to the past are used.
In short, remember this acronym: OIL WAY
which stands for: on, in, last, when, ago and yesterday
Present Perfect Simple
The present perfect tense is the tense when something has started in the past and either is still going on or its effect can be seen in the present time.
A. Present Perfect Structure
the subject+ have/has + the third form of a verb (+ the rest of the sentence including object, time expressions and …)
B. Present Perfect Verbs
Verbs in the present perfect tense are not different from simple past tense.
C: Uses of Present Perfect
1- To talk about what happened in the past and has continued up to the present
For example: We have lived in this apartment for many years.
2- To talk about things that started and ended in the past
For example: My mom has washed the dishes.
3- To report an experience of the past that has been repeated several times
For example: We have watched these Friends 5 times.
4- To talk about experiences using superlative adjectives
For example: My last birthday was the worst day I have ever had.
Note that we have an article exclusively talking about ‘the present perfect tense’ in detail.
D: Adverbs of present perfect
In the present perfect tense, adverbs or time expressions that refer to it include:
JEANY, FLOT, SPOT
1- just: To point out something that has recently been done
‘Just’ is used in questions and affirmative sentences.
2- ever: To say something has been experienced up to the present
‘Ever’ is used in questions and affirmative sentences.
3- already: To talk about something that has been done before, unclear time in the past
‘Already’ is used in questions and affirmative sentences.
4- never: To state something has not been experienced so far.
‘Never’ is itself negative and used in negative sentences.
5- yet: To show something has not been done until now
‘Yet’ is used in questions and affirmative sentences.
6- for: To talk about length of time in which something was experienced or done
‘For’ is used in response to ‘How long’.
7- since: To point out to the point of time something began. In the past tense, instead of ‘since’, ‘from … to …’ is used. ‘Since’ is used in response to ‘How long’ and ‘When’.
Present perfect and simple past tense are similar because both have originally occurred in the past. In English grammar, there is a great difference between what a native perceives when hears each of the tense.
The abstract of the article:
In this article, we talked about the difference between the present perfect and simple past tense in English grammar and how to use these two tenses.