Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The present perfect versus the past simple

It's quite easy to learn the tenses in English, but I think the present perfect tense is the most difficult, at least for Spanish speakers, because it is not always translated by the same tense in that language: it is usally translated by "pretérito perfecto compuesto", but in some cases you must use the present simple, and even a verbal periphrasis. Some examples:

I have never been to a theme park.
Nunca he estado en un parque temático. (pretérito perfecto compuesto)
We have known each other for ages.
Hace mucho tiempo que nos conocemos. (present simple)
They have just met
Se acaban de conocer. (periphrasis)

The present perfect is usually learnt in contrast with the past simple: if we say when something happened, we have to use the past simple, but if we don't give a definite time, we use the present perfect.
I lost my keys last night, but thank God I have found them!
Image by Shutterstock 

The present perfect has a simple form:
Have / has + V-ed (3rd column, if it is an irregular verb)
and a continuous form:
have / has been + V-ing

Today we are going to revise the usage of the present perfect simple versus the past simple. Have a look at this presentation and then do the exercises below.


Finally, there is an excellent exercise in which you will complete the lyrics of the song "What can I do" by The Corrs and then a short text about the group. 

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