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Past simple / Present perfect (simple / continuous)
Past simple and Present perfect
The past simple is used to talk about completed actions at a particular point in the past, often with dates or times and words like yesterday, last and ago:
- Kurt went to Canada in 1991.
- I didn't see you yesterday. Where were you?
The Present perfect is used to talk about
a) recent actions or events when no fixed time is given (e.g. news reports) often with words like just, recently and lately:
- A volcano has erupted in Japan.
- I've just seen your mother in the street
b) actions which have a result in the present:
- what's wrong? Have you lost your keys?
c) actions in a period of time which is not yet finished, and experiences in someone's life so far, often with yet, so far, ever, for and since
- I haven't had any letters this week. (Compare : I had five letters last week)
- She's visited New York five times. (in her life so far)
- Have you ever been to Greece?
The present perfect continuous is used to talk about actions which started in the past and are still happening, or which have recently stopped but have a result in the present:
- I've been waiting here for ten minutes.
- Your eyes are red. You haven't been crying, have you?
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