PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

Present Perfect or Past Simple

Last week, in English for lunch, our students saw an important difference between the past simple and the present perfect.

Present perfect can be a tricky concept in the English language, as many languages do not have a similar structure.

It isn't that difficult to understand it though!

Remember that we like to use the past simple when we are thinking of something that happened before now in a time that is finished.

For example:

John played football yesterday.

John played football.

Yesterday is gone! (There isn't anything we can do about yesterday now. We can't go back in time). So, we have a past action in a finished time.

However, we can say:

John has played football today.

While the action happened in the past, the time is still present (We are within the same period that action happened!). This is one way we can use the present perfect.

Have a look at the exercise below and decide if you need to use present perfect or past simple.

1. Martha ________________ (bake) 3 cakes this week.
2. James ____________ (have) dinner with his wife last night.
3. Tereza ___________ (work) a lot this year.
4. I ______________ (watch) nearly 2,000 films in my life.
5. They ___________ (miss) their flight 10 minutes ago.

What about you? What have you done so far this week? Let us know when you join us this Thursday for English for Lunch!


1. has baked
2. had
3. has worked
4. have watched
5. missed

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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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