Grammar Tips (문법 팁): Present Perfect Tense vs. Past Simple Tense

Do you confuse the present perfect tense with the past simple tense? Check this post and know the difference between the two.

Source: Pixabay

Since the present perfect tense is used to show the connection of the past with the present, it is often confused with the past simple tense. It is important to note that even though we talk about a past action when we use the present perfect tense, it is not the time of occurrence, but rather the present consequence of the past action that we focus on.

According to Learn English and mmmEnglish, the time frame determines whether you need to use the present perfect tense or the past simple tense. When we talk about a finished time, we use the past simple tense. When we talk about an unfinished time, we use the present perfect tense. We do not use the present perfect tense with adverbials that refer to a specific, finished time in the past.

Some adverbials that refer to a finished time are: “yesterday,” “last week/month/year,” “in 2017,” “when I was younger,” etc.

Some adverbials that refer to an unfinished time are: “today,” “this week/month/year,” “now that I am 18,” etc.

We would not say:

  • We have bought a new car last week.

But rather, we would say:

  • We have bought a new car this week.

OR,

  • We bought a new car last week.

“Last week” is a finished time; it implies that that week is over. Thus, we do not use the present perfect tense with it, and we use the past simple tense instead. On the other hand, “this week” is an unfinished time; it implies that there is still more of this week to come. Hence, we use the present perfect tense with it.

To know more about this topic, click here and here.


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