English Learning Box


Simple Past and Present Perfect Exercise 1

Before doing the exercise, let’s review the difference between the simple past and the present perfect tenses.


1. Simple past sentences describe actions that finished or were completed some time before the present time. They are not seen in the present. In most simple past sentences, you will find words and phrases that refer to the past. These include: yesterday, last, ago, when I was, in addition to any point of time in the past.

In the example sentences below, the simple past verbs are written in bold type and the time expressions are underlined.

  • I slept early last night.
  • She moved to our school in 2019.
  • They ate out yesterday
  • It rained heavily on Friday.
  • I didn’t like mangoes when I was young.
  • Did you travel last vacation?

2. Present perfect sentences describe actions that finished or are completed some time close to the present and they still have an effect on the present. Also we use present perfect verb to describe actions that happened a number of times and can still happen again. Words and phrases that help us identify present perfect verbs include: just, already, ever, never, yet, since, for, recently, times.

In the example sentences below, the present perfect verbs are written in bold type and the time expressions are underlined.

  • The have just arrived.
  • She has taken the test three times.
  • Prices have risen recently.
  • I have lived here for ten years.
  • Have you called them yet?
  • She has not received your email yet.

How do we form the simple past and present perfect tenses?

To make simple past verbs, you need to use the past form of the verb (or verb 2) with all subjects (I, We, You They, He, She, It).

  • I / We / You / They /He / She / It arrived.

To make present perfect verbs, you need to use have or has and the past participle form of the verb (or verb 3).

  • I / We / You / They have arrived.
  • He / She / It has arrived.

Verbs are of two types:

a. Regular verbs: verbs that form their past tense by adding -ed or -d if the verb ends in the letter e.

Examples of irregular verbs are:

  • clean-cleaned-cleaned
  • open-opened-opened
  • help-helped-helped
  • close-closed-closed

Spelling Note: If the verb ends in y. we need to look at the letter before the y

If it is a vowel, so we follow the rule above by adding –ed: play-played, pray-prayed.

If the letter before the y is a consonant, we remove the y and add –ied. study-studied, try-tried

b. Irregular verbs: These verbs do not have -ed in the past form. They have different forms. 

Examples of irregular verbs are:

  • cut-cut-cut
  • hear-heard-heard
  • spend-spent-spent
  • buy-bought-bought
  • teach-taught-taught
  • find-found-found
  • know-knew-known

To check the form of the verb you want to use, refer to the dictionary or find a list of irregular verbs.

Choose the correct verb form: simple past or present perfect.
1. __________ any historical fiction books lately?

2. I __________ such a beautiful sunset before!

3. We __________ any aliens yet, but the search continues!

4. When I __________ a child, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut.

5. In 1274, Marco Polo __________ from Italy to China by land.

6. The Internet __________ the way we communicate forever.

7. The dinosaurs __________ from Earth 66 million years ago.

8. __________ a place with ancient ruins?

9. The Egyptians __________ the Great Pyramid of Giza thousands of years ago.

10. I __________ sushi before.

11. Shakespeare __________ many famous plays, including "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet."

12. My best friend __________ in Japan for five years now and loves it.

13. The movie __________, so let's hurry and find our seats!

14. My sister __________ the dishes yet.

15. They __________ the summer vacation in Morocco last year.

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