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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #106054: Preterite or Present Perfect
Preterite or Present Perfect
In lesson test, you had learnt how to make and use the 2 preterites and distinguish them. Now, we're going to learn how to use a 'strange' tense, which doesn't really exist in French, but which is very important in English :
The present perfect (simple) !
Before starting, let's revise the simple prétérite very quickly :
1) THE SIMPLE PAST or PRETERITE :
verb (infinitive without 'to ': play -like - work ...) + ed
The finals in -ed must always be pronounced : [t], [d], or [id] ; learn them systematically as you learn the infinitives ;
-- for irregular verbs : .... There's no rule : YOU HAVE TO LEARN THEM !
No secret, no mystery ! You have to know them by heart, very precisely !...
b) The negative and interrogative forms of the simple past : are quite easy to make : You must use the auxiliary : Did/Didn't : ex : Last month, I didn't know him, but he knew me ! Did you know him ?
c) The simple past is used to express an action completed in the past. The time of the action may be more or less precise according to the adverb. What's important is that it is a completed past as shown by the expressions : when I was young - then - last week - last month - last year - yesterday - ago ... The moment when the action took place is important (even if it's not explicitly given.)
d) The simple past is the tense of narration. ex : I saw him when I arrived.
2) THE PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE :
a) How it is formed : The auxiliary HAVE only is used to build this tense :
HAVE (HAS in the 3rd pers.sing.) + past participle
: The past participle is either the verb + ed for regular verbs
or the 3rd column of the irregular verbs (see above ! )
The interrogative form is obtained reversing the auxiliary and the subject, and the negative form, simply by adding not !
ex : Yes ! I have seen him but he hasn't seen me ! Have you seen him too ?
b) You must use the present perfect simple:
** When the moment of the action is not insisted on, or indicated, because it is the action which is important (Have you, or haven't you done the action ?).
** To express an action which started in the past and has a visible impact in the present. The present perfect simple is the tense of the result of the action.
ex : Have you read this book ? (meaning : have you, or haven't you ?)
ex : He hasn't met my sister => He doesn't know her ...
ex : Look ! Somebody has broken this vase ! (there are pieces of crystal on the floor ! = it's the present result of a past action !)
** The sentence in the Present Perfect Simple may contain an adverb (already, ever/never ; not ...yet, so far (to this day ...) (Take care of putting the adverb between the auxiliary and the main verb !)
ex : Of course ! I have already read this book several times.
Here is what you need to manage ... Then, if you want to go further, you'll have to learn the Present Perfect in -ing and then, use both forms to express duration or the beginning of an action ... Many excellent tests and lessons are already on this site. test test test
Good luck for the exercise ! Be careful, and everything will be OK !
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