In today’s podcast, I talked about what to expect in future English Chat podcasts. I also chatted a little about myself and explained when to use the past simple and the present perfect.
So, let’s have a look at the grammar.
The Past Simple
“I first started teaching in 2002.”
‘My first job was in Sydney. I taught English there for six months.’
“Then, in 2003 I moved to Japan. I lived there for three years.”
In these sentences, I used the past simple to talk about completed actions that took place in the past.
The Present Perfect
“I’ve lived in eleven countries.”
“I’ve done a lot of travelling.”
Here, I used the present perfect because I am describing experiences that I have had . I don’t mention a specific time in the past. All the listener knows is that they happened at some time in my life.
One of the easiest ways to remember when to use the past simple or present perfect is to think about whether the time period you are talking about is finished (yesterday, last year, in 2002) or unfinished (this year, today, since 2002, in my life). With finished time we use the past simple and for unfinished time we use the present perfect.
Compare these sentence pairs:
I saw the new Star Wars movie yesterday. (Finished Time / Past Simple)
I have seen the new Star Wars movie (at some time in my life). (Unfinished Time / Present perfect)
I visited Spain last year. (Finished Time / Past Simple)
I have visited Spain three times (in my life). (Unfinished Time / Present perfect)
For more information about the present perfect click here.