Questions about Present Perfect vs. Simple Past

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103
votes
6answers
22k views

How do the tenses and aspects in English correspond temporally to one another?

Non-native speakers often get confused about what the various tenses and aspects mean in English. With input from some of the folk here I've put together a diagram that I hope will provide some ...
16
votes
4answers
7k views

When will “Present Perfect vs. Past Tense” cases be affected by culture?

Regarding actions taken in the past, besides the differences those two tenses have semantically, my teacher shared that it could be a British vs American English case. When talking about past ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

When is the present perfect tense used instead of the past tense?

When is the present perfect tense used instead of the past tense? I know that the present perfect tense is used when some adverbs (e.g., never, ever) are present in the sentence; the same is true ...
14
votes
10answers
2k views

Must present perfect tense be used if the action takes place more than once?

I was told that if an action is completed once in the past, the simple past is used. Ex: I saw that movie. If the action is completed more than once, the present perfect tense must be used. Ex: I ...
13
votes
3answers
125k views

Simple Past vs. Present Perfect: “was” vs. “has been” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Did it close” vs “Has it closed”? Which is correct: “has died” or “died”? How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Mixing past tenses in the same sentence

I have a question about violating verb tenses. I was taught that you can't use present perfect (or continuous) and past simple within a sentence. You either have to use present perfects (or ...
11
votes
3answers
26k views

“…didn't finish…yet” versus “…haven't finished…yet”

If I worked on something yesterday but it was not finished, which tense should I use? I didn't finish it yet or I haven't finished it yet
11
votes
6answers
7k views

“I have never said” versus “I never said”

I have never said this. I never said this. Is the usage of have in the first sentence justified or grammatically correct? What is the difference in meaning? When should I use one form over ...
10
votes
1answer
21k views

Which is correct: “has died” or “died”?

To me, using Present Perfect form means the event can occur again. So, saying someone has died may not be grammatically correct. Also, I noticed (it might be just coincidence): passed away ...
9
votes
3answers
62k views

Difference between 'haven't …yet' and 'didn't… yet'

I was wondering what the difference was between a sentence with have and one with do. For example this one: They haven't started yet. They didn't start yet. Is there a difference? ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

“Have you heard?” vs “Did you hear?” and “Sally broke/has broken her leg”

Earlier today I had a private lesson with an Italian student—intermediate level, who has been studying the present perfect vs. past simple tense. His teacher had given him an exercise where a list of ...
7
votes
3answers
16k views

“I just ate them” and “I've just eaten them” — What's the difference in American and in British?

I know there are differences between American and British English in this area. So when answering, please specify whether you speak American or British English.
6
votes
3answers
11k views

Is it correct to say “I found the map” or “I have found the map”?

Is it correct to say "I found the map" or "I have found the map"?
4
votes
2answers
28k views

“Has been” vs. “was”

Should one use has been or was in the following sentence, and why? For many years the USA has been a British colony. For many years the USA was a British colony.
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Use didn't leave yet, or haven't left yet? Can we use ''YET'' in past tense or not? [closed]

My knowledge of English grammar is very basic. I learned English mostly from movies and a lot of times I choose a specific way to say something in English based on intuition or the feeling that it ...
4
votes
2answers
814 views

Should I reply in the past simple or in the present perfect? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Present perfect for past action with present effect Is this sentence correct? What exactly does it mean? Person 1: Where did you hide my keys? Person 2: I put ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is the present perfect used in headlines? [duplicate]

In news reports, we often read or hear events introduced with the present perfect, and then the past simple like this: The film star Jim Cooper has died of cancer. He was 68 and lived in Texas. ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Why present perfect in “How many points have you scored this season”? [duplicate]

Normally we use the past simple instead of present perfect when an action happened at a specific time in the past and is not linked with the present. Why is this sentence grammatically correct? ...
3
votes
2answers
10k views

Is there any difference between “has gone” and “went” in this context?

Is there any difference between these two sentences? Mirek went to Europe on business. Mirek has gone to Europe on business.
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Simple past or present perfect? [duplicate]

Which is preferable, simple past or present perfect, in situations like this one: I had a conversation with my friend and we planned to do something; shortly afterwards I call him back to announce the ...
3
votes
3answers
110 views

“I burned the toast” vs. “I've burned the toast”

I have a question about a sentence I read in the comic strip Garfield. Garfield's owner, Jon, brings him a burnt piece of toast saying, I burned the toast. Well, once there's no time ...
2
votes
1answer
527 views

American native speaker and perfect tenses

Yesterday I sent my friend a useful gift in online game. Today I can see he has not accepted it yet. Which sentence is grammatically correct and most natural in American English? "You didn't ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Past simple vs present perfect in this example

Could you explain to me please what is the difference between these. It is meant to express that I will let him know AFTER I picked/have picked a car. I'll let you know which one I picked ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

When do I use present perfect tense instead of the simple past? [duplicate]

I've finished my work. I finished my work. When do I use one or the other?
2
votes
1answer
115 views

“Has changed since March 1” vs “Changed on March 1”

My address has changed since March 1. The new address is now 123 Mapple Street. Is the verb tense in “has changed” correct in this case? If the action is completed, it seems like it should ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

'have been' vs. 'went' with time words

Sometimes I see the following in ESL learners' writing: I have been to America two years ago. Am I correct in saying that it should be: I have been to America. I went to America two ...
1
vote
4answers
385 views

Does the present perfect imply an action finished in the past? [duplicate]

reading passage: Ten Taiwanese film directors, producers and screenwriters have been invited to participate in a two-day workshop in Paris next week, to seek co-production opportunities with their ...
1
vote
3answers
553 views

In the past year

I went to Australia last year. I have gone to Australia in the past year. I know it is perfectly alright to use past simple for the first sentence. But why do you use present perfect "have ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

As yet + past simple/present perfect

I was unable to find out the rules here and what is the difference: As yet, he has not received the package. As yet little was known of the causes of the disease.
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Is “I asked many questions that I had before” correct? [closed]

I would like to ask whether this sentence is grammatically correct or not: I asked her many questions that I had before. I think it sounds better if I say "I asked her many questions that I have ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Use of the word “have”

In a menu title/button, does "have" need to be used? Is "1" okay or should "2" be used? 1) People who contacted you in the last 24 hours 2) People who have contacted you in the last 24 hours This ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

I copied or I have copied? [duplicate]

As I speak, I noticed that I use the word "have" a lot! Also, I was wondering whether this over-usage is right. For instance, I have copied the file to your computer where I could've used ...
1
vote
1answer
565 views

Present perfect or past simple? [duplicate]

I know the basic rules about using PP and PS (like specified time in the past etc.) but in some cases, it is not clear to me: I have finished painting. - present perfect, I just announce that. I ...
0
votes
2answers
20k views

“I got it covered” vs “I've got it covered” [closed]

Which of the two sentences is correct and why: I got it covered. or I've got it covered. Edit: I am referring to usage that implies that you have something under control: Sally: Did ...
0
votes
3answers
667 views

Present Perfect or simple past?

A student has written: Still, I have already been aware of most of the information even before watching the video. It doesn't feel right and I would normally use a past simple here. I'm on my ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

“have found” vs. “found”

In the song, you can hear how she pours her heart out with such intense emotions in her clear, powerful voice, complaining why everything in her life has gone so wrong. Please just listen to ...
0
votes
2answers
12k views

“Asked” vs. “have asked” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is the present perfect tense used instead of the past tense? When will “Present Perfect vs. Past Tense” cases be affected by culture? I feel like I often misuse ...
0
votes
1answer
33k views

Difference between “I reached home” and “I have reached home” [duplicate]

I often confuse these two things: "I reached home" and "I have reached home". Once my friend asked me, "Where are you? " I messaged him: "I have reached home". He told me not to use "have reached ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Is using “since” and “ago” with the present perfect correct? [duplicate]

I just found this in a Cambridge Grammar Book and I am so confused. When I learnt English in school, the teacher said I cannot put Since and Ago together in present perfect sentence. However, in this ...
0
votes
1answer
793 views

Usage of “since” and “for” in the present perfect and simple past tense [duplicate]

Can we use since and for with past tense? If we can use them, then what is difference between: I have learnt English for 3 months I learnt English for 3 months
0
votes
1answer
7k views

“How long have you stayed there?” vs “How long did you stay there?” [duplicate]

I have a doubt about the difference between those two questions. Could you guys give me an appropriate examples and explanation? Thanks in advance!
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Which tense is more appropriate in the clause of this sentence, the simple past or present perfect? [duplicate]

Sentence 1: It is quite disappointed that I was not able to pass the exam even after having worked hard for three months. Sentence 2: It is quite disappointed that I have not been able to ...
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

“He made a picture” vs. “he has made a picture” [duplicate]

Which form is better to use? He made a picture of his sister. He has made a picture of his sister. And why? The situation in which I want to use it is as follows. This is my first ...
-1
votes
2answers
4k views

“Your message was deleted” vs. “your message has been deleted” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? I don't know which form is better to use, when telling a user that his message was/has been deleted ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

They've insist or they insisted [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? When is the present perfect tense used instead of the past tense? When will “Present Perfect vs. Past ...
-1
votes
1answer
3k views

“Did it close” vs “Has it closed”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? What's the difference between the following? Did the shop close? Has the shop closed? I suspect ...
-1
votes
1answer
430 views

When to use “have”/“has” and when not to use “have”/“has” in a sentence [duplicate]

I heard about it. I have heard about it. I knew him. I have known him. He has played really well. He played really well.
-2
votes
1answer
1k views

“Did you wash your hands?” or “Have you washed your hands?” and why? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? When do I use present perfect tense instead of the simple past? When will “Present Perfect vs. Past ...
-2
votes
1answer
445 views

Present perfect or simple past [duplicate]

Why is it better to use simple past than present perfect in the first six sentences? 1.Did you win the game of chess? 2.Did you see Ann? 3.Did you call Jane? 4.When did you join the company? 5.Did ...