English Learning Box


Simple Past vs. Present Perfect Exercise 2

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

Grammar Rules


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 answers.
1. He __________ to work every day for the last few months.

2. I __________ from university five years ago.

3. She __________ her phone last week. Later, she found it in her car.

4. He __________ his arm. He needs to go to the hospital.

5. I __________ this movie three times. I'm going to watch it again.

6. My mother __________ this movie when she was young.

7. __________ Japanese food?

8. Ouch! I __________ my finger.

9. The book __________ boring. I returned it to the library.

10. They __________ the shop early this morning.

11. __________ the Great Wall when you were in China?

12. Mom isn't here. She __________ to the mall.

13. I __________ time to talk to the principal yesterday.

14. I __________ my friend ten minutes ago.

15. Susan __________ the dishes yet.

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