Present Perfect – Simple Past – contrasted

Differences and similarities in the Present Perfect and the Simple Past

1. Use

Present Perfect Simple Past
  • result of an action in the past is important in the present
  • recently completed actions
  • actions beginning in the past and still continuing
  • together with lately, recently, yet
  • action finished in the past
  • series of completed actions in the past
  • together with Past Progressive/Continuous – The Simple Past interrupted an action which was in progress in the past.

2. Signal words

Present Perfect Simple Past
  • just
  • yet
  • never
  • already
  • ever
  • so far
  • up to now
  • recently
  • since
  • for
  • yesterday
  • last week
  • a month ago
  • in 2012

3. Form

Present Perfect Simple Past
have/has + past participle * regular verbs → infinitive + ed
irregular verbs → 2nd column of the table of the irregular verbs

* past participle:

  • regular verbs → infinitive + -ed
  • irregular verbs → 3rd column of the table of the irregular verbs

4. Examples

4.1. Affirmative sentences

Present Perfect Simple Past
I have played football. I played football.
You have played football. You played football.
He has played football. He played football.

4.2. Negative sentences

Present Perfect Simple Past
I have not played football. I did not play football.
You have not played football. You did not play football.
He has not played football. He did not play football.

4.3. Questions

Present Perfect Simple Past
Have I played football? Did I play football?
Have you played football? Did you play football?
Has he played football? Did he play football?

5. Spelling (Present Perfect and Simple Past)

  • stopped (Double the consonant after a short vowel.)
  • loved (one -e at the end of the word → Add only -d.)
  • worried (consonant before -y → Change to -i.)