Past and present reference
The main uses of Present Perfect
- at an unspecified time in the past - the fact that something has happened is more important than when it happened - The human race has come a long way
- in the (very) recent past - especially with adverbs like just, yet, already etc
- in the current time period - today, this year etc
- during our lifetime up until now - especially with words like ever and never.
- during a specified period up until now - especially with for and since
The main uses of Past Simple
- at a specified time in the past - yesterday, last year, when he was a child etc
- about people who are no longer alive or situations which are obviously in the past - Dickens wrote a lot of novels. The Romans built a lot of roads.
- during a period which is finished - especially with for.
|1.||two days ago|
|2.||this morning (it is now 11am)|
|3.||this morning (it is now 3pm)|
|6.||last year / month / week|
|7.||in the last year / month / week|
|9.||on my birthday|
|10.||since last year|
|12.||when he was a child|
|15.||five minutes ago|
|16.||in the last five minutes|
|18.||once upon a time|
|20.||during the summer (it is now December)|
A note on past and current time periods
- We've sold ten contracts so far this week. (and we hope to sell some more)
- So far today, I've had 50 emails. (and no doubt I'll get more)
- We've had no replies so far. (but there's still time)
- How much have you done so far? (I don't expect you to have finished yet)
- Have you enjoyed it so far? (you might change your mind later)
Last week etc and the last week etc
- last week - the previous Monday to Sunday (or however you define your week)
- I read three books last week - Past Simple
- the last week - the seven days up until and including today
- I've read four books in the last week. - Present Perfect
Exercise 2 - Past simple or Present Perfect? Use the verbs in the box in the correct tense to fill the gaps. Use contractions after pronouns.
visit · see · drive · go · be · go
|1.||We to the zoo last Tuesday.|
|2.||The property company six houses this week.|
|3.||Jack in the last hour or so? (you)|
|4.||Yes. I think I him before lunch.|
|5.||So far, the concert really good.|
|6.||Last week I some 3000 kilometres.|
|7.||In the last few years, the company from strength to strength.|
|8.||Your telephone a minute or so ago.|
|9.||I three model airplanes this morning and it isn't even noon yet.|
|10.||We the beach almost every day this summer so far.|
|11.||They with us for Christmas.|
|12.||I to him in the pub a couple of times in the last year or so.|
Recent past - things you've done or haven't done recently
just, already, yet, still, at last
Exercise 3 - Fill the gaps by entering the adverbs in the box. Each one is used twice.
|1.||I've finished that book you lent me. It was really great.|
|2.||Have you seen that new film . Everyone's talking about it.|
|3.||You haven't answered my question. When is your exam?|
|4.||You don't need to do the washing up; I've done it.|
|5.||She's finished with the computer . I've been waiting for ages.|
|6.||I'm sorry but I haven't spoken to Davis about your project .|
|7.||Well, that's that done. I can go home.|
|8.||I've told you a hundred times. Don't do that to the cat!|
|9.||Your Dad's been on the phone. He wants you to meet him at the station.|
|10.||It's 9am and you haven't got up! Come on, rise and shine.|
Exercise 4 - Complete the sentences with the verbs in brackets, in either Present Perfect or Past Simple. Include any other words given in the brackets. use contractions for negatives.
|1.||I him leaving just as I arrived. (see)|
|2.||Look who into the room. (just / come)|
|3.||I her quite recently at a friend's party. (meet)|
|4.||There a lot about it in the news lately. (be)|
|5.||We much of them recently. (not see)|
|6.||I to him about it just the other day. (speak)|
|7.||He to see us lately. (not be)|
|8.||She at the biscuit factory until fairly recently. (work)|
In your lifetime up until now
ever, never, before, often, once etc
Exercise 5 - Paul and Jenny are at a party on a boat on the River Thames in London. Complete their conversation by entering one word in each gap. The answers include not only the adverbs above, but some other words as well.
|P:||Hello, my name's Paul. Haven't we met , somewhere?|
|J:||I think we , yes. What a noise that helicopter's making.|
|P:||Have you flown in a helicopter?|
|J:||Only . It was a birthday present. How about you?|
|P:||No, . But I have been in a glider. That was fun.|
|J:||Now that is one of those many things I've done. Ever.|
|P:||And how have you flown on commercial flights?|
|J:||Oh, lots of . But only on holiday.|
|P:||And have you had a bad experience when flying?|
|J:||No. At least not , touch wood.|
|P:||have I, thankfully.|
|J:||And have you been on this boat ?|
|P:||Yes, I , in fact. I came to a party here last year.|
|J:||This is my first time. I've been on any of these Thames boats until now.|
|P:||Oh, isn't that Mary Johnson. I've seen her on TV a times.|
|J:||Yes, that's right. Have you seen her show 'Cook it right'?|
|P:||Yes, I have, but not very . I'm usually working then.|
|J:||I think I've probably seen episode. I'm a big fan.|
|P:||I've never actually seen a TV personality in the flesh .|
|J:||Well you have . And she's coming over to speak to us.|
Note - never
Discussing experiences with Present Perfect and Past Simple.
Exercise 6 - Complete these conversations with the verb given in brackets in Present Perfect or Past Simple. If no verb is given, enter a short answer or question tag. Use contractions in negatives and after pronouns.
|A||(you meet) my friend Candy?|
|B||Yes I . We (meet) at a party back in August.|
|B||Oh, I think I (be) at that party, too.|
|A||Oh, no. I (lose) my car keys.|
|B||Are you sure? When (you see) them last?|
|A||I just remember that I (put) them down somewhere.|
|B||It's OK, I (find) them. Here you are. They (be) on that table over there.|
|A||You (just come) back from Mexico, you?|
|B||Yes, we (get) back a couple of days ago. It (be) absolutely wonderful.|
|A||Where (you go)?|
|B||We most of the time in the South, near Oaxaca.|
|A||What (you like) most about Mexico?|
|B||It (be) the natural history that us most. We (not be) anywhere with such diversity of flora and fauna before.|
|A||(you ever visit) the Czech Republic?|
|B||No, but we (go) to Slovakia last year. That's just next door.|
|A||Oh I (never be) in Slovakia. What (be) your holiday like?|
|B||Great. We (stay) most of the time in the High Tatras, it's really beautiful, and the people (be) really friendly. In fact, we (decide) to go back again, next year.|
been and gone
- She's been to Paris
- He's gone to Paris
Exercise 7 - Enter been or gone into each gap
|1.||He's just out to the bank. He should be back soon.|
|2.||Debbie, why haven't you to the bank yet? We desperately need more change.|
|3.||Bungee-jumping! It's definitely a case of ' there, done that, and got the T-shirt'.|
|4.||Martin is away. He has to Paris for a few days.|
|5.||Peter? With him, it's usually a case of here today, tomorrow.|
|6.||Somebody told me you've just in Australia?|
|7.||Where have you ? We've been looking everywhere for you.|
|8.||I'm afraid you've missed Mike. He's already and .|
|Rule 1||If somebody has somewhere (else), they are not here.|
|Rule 2||If somebody has somewhere (else), they are not there any longer.|
|Rule 3||If somebody has here, they were here earlier, but are not here any longer.|
A past period up until now
- There hasn't been a school in this village for twenty years now.
- He's worked here since leaving university.
- She's been a nurse for all her working life.
- I've written five reports since lunchtime.
- How many times have you been to the cinema in the last year?
- I've been writing emails all morning.
- I've written twenty emails this morning
- This town has changed a lot since I was a boy.
- Over the last few years, the rich have become much richer.
- It's got a lot colder in the last few days.
- She lived in France for ten years and then moved to Switzerland.
- He (had) worked at ACME Computers for ten years before joining us.
- Ever since he was a boy, he had liked playing with model trains.
- I bumped into Charles the other day. I hadn't seen him since we were at university together.
Exercise 8 - Where a verb is given, fill the gap with that verb, in either Past Simple or Present Perfect. Don't use any contractions. Where no word is given, fill the gap with for or since.
- And here is today's News
- The EU Commission have announced new measures to help the Euro
- Unemployment levels have reached a new high
- There have been heavy snowfalls in Scotland
- There have been heavy snowfalls in Scotland. Hundreds of people were stranded in their cars last night as blizzards swept through central Scotland. Several roads were blocked, and the snow also disrupted train services.
- Have you heard? Dan has resigned.
- Aunty Sally has bought a new car.
- I've signed up for evening classes in Italian.
- Have you heard? Dan has resigned. Apparently he handed in his resignation yesterday. It seems that he has been head-hunted by the opposition. They contacted him last week and offered him a job with a rather better package than he gets here. And he went for it like a shot.
Exercise 9 - The rise of the smartphone - Fill the gaps with the verbs given in brackets in the correct form, Past Simple or Present Perfect
OK, that's me done (a grammatical aside)
- I'm done with the photocopier if you want to use it.
- When you're all done, you can leave the room.
- OK, that's me done for the day. I'm away home.
- Cakes are done. People are finished.
- Man's work lasts till set of sun
Woman's work is never done