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BBC LEARNING ENGLISH
6 Minute Grammar Present perfect and past simple
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6 Minute Grammar © British Broadcasting Corporation 2015 bbclearningenglish.com Page 1 of 5
Catherine Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Catherine. Neil And me, Neil. Hello. Catherine Today we��re talking about the present perfect and the past simple tenses. Neil Yes – we��re going to tell you how to form them, and give you three rules to help you decide which one to use and when. Catherine �� we��ll also look at using ever and never with the present perfect��. Neil ��and we��ll finish with a quiz. Catherine Right then: let��s start with the present perfect. And here��s our first example: Example I've looked at the sales figures. They��ve shot up by 20%! Neil So, it��s subject, plus have or has, plus a past participle. Catherine To make past participles of regular verbs, add -ed to the main verb�� so look becomes looked. Neil But some verbs, like shoot, are irregular. The past participle of shoot is shot. You just have to learn your irregular verbs.

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6 Minute Grammar © British Broadcasting Corporation 2015 bbclearningenglish.com Page 2 of 5
Catherine That's right. And we often use short forms in the present perfect, like I��ve, he��s, and they��ve. Neil Now, here's an example of the past simple. Example I looked at the sales figures this morning. They shot up by 20% last month. Neil For the past simple of regular verbs, add -ed to the main verb�� Catherine So look becomes looked, but don��t forget those irregular verbs. The past simple of go is went. Neil Now it��s often difficult to know which tense to use. Catherine It can be so we��ve got some rules for you. Listen to the first example again: Example I��ve looked at the sales figures. They��ve shot up by 20%. Catherine And it��s present perfect here because we��re focusing on what happened, not when. But in the second example: Example I looked at the sales figures this morning. They shot up by 20% last month. Neil �� it��s the past simple because we say when the actions happened. So that��s rule 1: use the present perfect to say what happened, but the past simple for when or where something happened. Catherine That's right. Now Neil just a minute because I actually�� I haven��t eaten this morning�� Neil

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6 Minute Grammar © British Broadcasting Corporation 2015 bbclearningenglish.com Page 3 of 5
And that��s an example of the present perfect with a time phrase. So sometimes, we can use the present perfect to say when something happened, when a situation started in the past and is still true, or still happening now. Here you go�� Here��s a biscuit Catherine�� Catherine Thank you, Neil. Neil �� because you haven��t eaten anything this morning�� Catherine �� I haven��t. But, if I said, I didn��t eat anything this morning, with the past simple, it would mean it isn��t morning any more – now, it��s the afternoon or evening�� Neil Yes, the action started and finished in the past�� and you must be starving – go on, have another biscuit! Catherine Thank you very much. So that��s rule 2: use the present perfect for events that started in the past and are continuing now�� Neil ��and the past simple for actions that started and finished in the past. Catherine Nice biscuits, Neil. IDENT 6 Minute Grammar from BBC Learning English. Catherine And we��re talking about when to use the present perfect and the past simple. Neil Now, we often use the present perfect with ever and never�� for life experiences – things we��ve done at some point in the past. Here��s a question for you, Catherine. Catherine Okay�� Neil Have you ever eaten insects?

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6 Minute Grammar © British Broadcasting Corporation 2015 bbclearningenglish.com Page 4 of 5
Catherine Funnily enough, Neil, no, I��ve never eaten an insect, and I don't think I ever will. How about you? Neil Yes, actually I have eaten insects. I've eaten ants that were given to me by a friend from Colombia. Catherine Very good. So, rule 3: use ever with the present perfect to ask about a past experience, and never to talk about an experience you haven��t had. Neil �� but if you add information about time and place, use the past simple I ate insects last summer in Colombia. Catherine �� and Neil used present perfect in I have eaten insects because he was focusing on the event itself, not when it happened. Neil Actually, I wasn��t focussing on anything. I kept my eyes shut the whole time! They didn't look very nice. Catherine But they tasted alright? Neil They tasted Okay, yes. Catherine Good. Neil It��s now time for a quiz. Which is correct? Number one: a) I��ve been for a job interview last week or b) I went for a job interview last week. Catherine And it��s b) I went for a job interview last week. Use the past simple when you say when something happened. Neil Number two: a) I never went for a job interview or b) I have never been for a job interview.

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6 Minute Grammar © British Broadcasting Corporation 2015 bbclearningenglish.com Page 5 of 5
Catherine And it��s b) I have never been for a job interview. We use the present perfect with never. Neil And the last one: a) Who has eaten all my biscuits? or b) Who ate all my biscuits? Catherine And that's a trick question because actually both are correct! And by the way, Neil, it wasn��t me! I didn��t eat all your biscuits. Neil Yes, I��m sure. And that means we have now come to the end of our programme. Don��t forget our three rules: One. Use the present perfect to say what has happened, but the past simple to say when or where it happened. Catherine Two: Use the present perfect for something that started in the past and is continuing now, but the past simple for something that started and finished in the past. Neil And three: Use ever with the present perfect to ask about a past experience, and never to talk about an experience you haven��t had. Catherine There��s more about this on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Grammar. Both Bye.
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