|Free reference guides to English Grammar|
Practical English Usage, Grammar terms
Vocabulary, Speaking and Writing
English Lesson of the Day
Practical English Usage
English grammar and vocabulary exercises
Difference between present perfect and simple past tenses
The present perfect tense is normally used when we are talking about past events together with their present results.
James broke his leg sometime in the past, but its effect is still present – he still can’t walk.
The simple past tense is preferred when we identify the person or thing responsible for a present situation.
Although the process of breaking the window took place in the past, its effect is still present – the window is still broken. That is why we use a present perfect tense in this sentence.
Here the focus is on the person who performed the action. Therefore we use a simple past tense in this sentence.
More examples are given below:
The simple past tense is also used to refer to a belief that has just been shown to be true or false.
Difference between American and British English
In American English, the simple past is often used to give news. The present perfect tense is also possible, but it is rarely used. In British English the present perfect tense is preferred in this case.
Recently, some British newspapers too have regularly started using the simple past tense for news announcements. This practice is probably aimed at saving space.
In American English, the simple past tense is commonly used with indefinite past-time adverbs like already, yet, ever and before. In British English, these adverbs are almost always used with the present perfect tense.
Subscribe and win a grammar ebook
|English Grammar |||Practical English Usage |||Grammatical terms |||English Writing |||English speaking |||Vocabulary ||
|Copyright © 2006 - 2009 perfectyourenglish.com|
All Rights Reserved.