Differences between Simple Past and Present Perfect ?

Sometimes the past simple and the present perfect are confused. This section will help you to understand the differences between the simple past tense and the present perfect tense. It is important to remember that past simple tense to talk about a definite finished time in the past. We use the present perfect tense that started in the past and which we want to connect with the present.

Sentence Structure: Simple Past Vs Present Perfect

  • Affirmative (Positive) Sentence
Tense Subject Auxiliary Verb Rest of the sentence.
Past I, We, You, They, He, She, It - Past Rest of the sentence.
Present Perfect I, we, you, They have Past Participle Rest of the sentence.
Present Perfect He, She, It has Past Participle Rest of the sentence.
  • Negative Sentence
Tense Subject Auxiliary + Not Verb Rest of the sentence.
Past I, We, You, They, He, She, It did not present Rest of the sentence.
Present Perfect I, we, you, They have not Past Participle Rest of the sentence.
Present Perfect He,She,It has not Past Participle Rest of the sentence.
  • Yes/No type Question
Tense Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest of the sentence?
Past Did I, We, You, They, He, She, It present Rest of the sentence?
Present Perfect Have I, we, you, They Past Participle Rest of the sentence?
Present Perfect Has He, She, It Past Participle Rest of the sentence?
  • 4.Information Question?
Tense Question Word Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest of the sentence?
Present Question word did I, We, You, They, He, She, It Present Rest of the sentence?
Present Perfect Question Word have I, we, you, They Past Participle Rest of the sentence?
Present Perfect Question Word has He, She, It Past Participle Rest of the sentence?

Past Simple vs. Present Perfect Examples

A unfinished action in life

      • My uncle has been to London three times. (He may go once again)
      • My grandmother went to three times. (A finished action in someone’s life, She is no more now)
      • I have lived in Chennai for five years. (I still live in Chennai)
      • I lived in Chennai for five years. (I lived in Chennai but not now)
      • I haven’t gone to Taj Mahal. (I may go there but till now I do not go there)
      • I did not go to Taj Mahal. (Already I had gone there)
      • I have known John for twenty years. (I still know him)
      • I knew John for twenty years. (but he moved away and we lost touch)

Is it new information or old? or An action that stopped recently

      • Karikaalan has crashed his car again. (This is new information)
      • Karikaalan crashed his car last year. (This is old information)
      • I have sent you an email. (This is new information)
      • I sent you a email last month. (This is old information)
      • I have completed the report. (This is new information)
      • I completed the report. (This is old information)
      • They have bought a new car. (This is new information)
      • They bought a new car last year. (This is old information)
      • Have you just finished work?. (Recently completed action)
      • Did you finish work?. (This is the old one)

When time is not specific

      • I have seen that movie already. (I don’t know when)
      • I saw that movie on Thursday. (I know exactly when)
      • Someone has eaten my food. (I don’t know when)

Do not do list

      • I wrote a letter yesterday - I have written a letter yesterday.
      • I wrote a letter at 7 o’clock - I have written a letter at 7 o’clock.
      • I wrote a letter last Monday – I have written a letter last Monday.
      • I wrote a letter several weeks ago – I have written a letter several weeks ago.

Words Usage in Present Perfect Sentences

We often use never and ever to talk about experience.

      • Have you ever been to Khajjiar?
      • I have never visited to Italy.

Already refers to an action that has happened at an unspecified time before now.

      • I have already completed my homework.
      • Have you finished your homework already?

Since and For to say how long the action has lasted.

      • I have been a Digital Marketing Analyst for more than five years.
      • I’ve had this watch since 2005.

Yet is used in negative statements and questions.

      • I haven’t visited Thanjavur Bragathiswarar temple yet.
      • Has She arrived yet?
      • They haven’t eaten yet.

Just- a short time ago.

      • I have just finished this page.

I hope you have just known the difference between simple past and present perfect tense. Thank you :)

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