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Grammar: Present Perfect & Past Simple

This post helps you speak English more naturally.
Today, we'll discover when to choose present perfect and when to choose past simple. Being able to choose correctly will make your English sound more natural and fluent during conversation.

Imagine you're talking to your friends and discussing your homework. Your homework is finished, but should you use the present perfect or the past simple?

Should you say
  • I have finished my homework. (present perfect)
  • I finished my homework yesterday. (past simple) 
What is the one key difference between them? Let's find out.

Which one should you choose?

Think about a few things you have done in the past. Write them down in sentences below. DON'T say when you did them.



Write your own sentences below.

Now, write down some sentences that tell us WHEN you did certain things. They can be new sentences.

Write your own sentences below.

Have you figured out the one difference between the sentences?
  1. When do we use present perfect?
  2. When do we use past simple?
Scroll down to check your answers.

Time Indicators! (words that tell us the time)
  • When we use time indicators about the past, we must use past simple. (yesterday, last week, two years ago, etc.)
  • When we don't use them, we use present perfect
Check your sentences. Did you write them correctly? If not, how could you fix them?


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