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Grammar: Past Simple vs. Present Perfect

Both present perfect and simple past can be used to talk about past events, so it can be tricky to figure out which one is best to use. Review these quick tips to help you remember the differences between the two.
 

Example Verbs in Past Simple and Present Perfect
  walk study eat
past simple walked studied ate
present perfect have walked have studied have eaten

Here are some basic rules you can use:

  • Use past simple when you specify when a past event happened.
  • Do not use present perfect when you specific when a past event happened.
  • Use present perfect when you specify how many times a past event happened.
  • Use present perfect with phrases like "since + [start time]" and "for + [length of time]" 

Check your understanding using the exercise below!

 

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