Published on 02 Nov 2014 | over 3 years ago

The difference between Present Perfect tense (We have gone) and Simple past tense (we went) – English Grammar Lesson

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In this lesson, you will learn the difference between the present perfect and simple past tense. Often, people get confused when to use the above sentence structures.

The Present Perfect tense: is used to speak about an action is completed in the present time period. This structure is always linked to the present time period and cannot be used to speak about an action that was completed in the past. It is also used to speak about an action that has no specified time. The verb is in the past participle form.

Example 01: I have watched three movies this week. (‘this week’ is the present week. Use the present perfect tense with terms like ‘today’ ‘this morning’ ‘this year/month’)

Example 02: I have completed my graduation. (time not specified)

Example 03: My uncle has gone to New York three times. (We use the present perfect because he exists in the present and so far he has gone to New York thrice)

Example 04: I have lived in London for seven years. (I still live in London in the present, till date)

Negative Sentences: Use ‘not’ in the negative.

Example 01: I have not seen John today

Example 02: I have never eaten Chinese food. (till date I haven’t eaten Chinese)

Questions: Place ‘have/has’ before the subject:

Example 01: Have you ever watched a horror film?

Example 02: Have you read ‘the secret’?

The Simple past tense: is used to talk about a action that was completed in the past. The verb is in the past form.

Example 01: I watched three films last week. (last week is a past time frame and so we use the past form ‘watched’)

Example 02: I lived in London for seven years. (we use the past ‘lived’ as I no longer live in London in the present)

Example 03: I completed my graduation in 2013.

Example 04: My uncle went to NY three times. (here we use ‘went’ because he no longer exists in the current)

Negative sentences: Make negatives using ‘did not/didn't’ followed by a verb in the present form.

Example 01: I didn't see John yesterday. ( not ‘didn't saw’)

Example 02: I did not have pizza last night.

Questions: Use did before the subject to make a question.

Example 01: Did you read the news paper yesterday?

Example 02: Did you call me last evening?
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