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Practice 3: When to Use the Past Simple or the Present Perfect Tense | Advanced Verb Tenses

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Instructions

Based on this lesson, use clues provided to write complete sentences. You conjugate the verbs in the past simple or present perfect tense, accordingly.

Example:

The clues: you / ever / see / a ghost?

Your sentence:

As this exercise involves formal writing, avoid using contractions (e.g., I’ve, they’ve, didn’t, haven’t, etc.).

(If needed, open this list of irregular verbs in a new tab).

When you are finished, click “Answer.”

Note. Your answers will not be submitted. When you leave this page, they will be deleted.

Ready to write some awesome sentences? Let’s go!

1. you / visit / the Statue of Liberty / when you were in New York?

Did you visit the Statue of Liberty when you were in New York?

You must use the past simple tense here because “when you were in New York” points to a specific time in the past.

Note. Make sure to use the correct capitalization and punctuation.

2. the weather / be / terrible / the last couple of days.

The weather has been terrible the last couple of days.

From “the last couple of days” you infer that the weather is still terrible at the present moment, so you need to use the present perfect tense.

3. I / lose / my glasses / when we went to the beach.

I lost my glasses when we went to the beach.

“When I went to the beach” points to a specific time in the past, so you must use the past simple tense.

4. how long / you / work / for your company now?

How long have you worked for your company now?

From the clues presented, you know that this person still works at that company, so you must use the present perfect tense.

5. dinosaurs / rule / the Earth / for millions of years.

Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for millions of years.

Dinosaurs are extinct, so you must use the past simple tense, which indicates no connection to the present.

6. do yo know / when / the Egyptians / build / the pyramids?

Do you know when the Egyptians built the pyramids?

“When they built the pyramids” is a time in the past. You must use the past simple tense (built).

7. you / see / my phone? / I cannot find it anywhere.

Have you seen my phone? I cannot find it anywhere.

The question is whether you have seen it any time up to now, so you must use the present perfect tense.

8. that movie / be / on my mind / since / we / watch it / last week.

That movie has been on my mind since we watched it last week.

The movie is still on my mind today. The present perfect tense shows such a connection to the present.

9. the price of computers / go down / steadily / in the last 10 years.

The price of computers has gone down steadily in the last 10 years.

The context shows that prices are still going down, so you must use the present perfect tense to show such a connection to the present.

10. Ladies and gentlemen, we / reach / our destination.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached our destination.

We are here now (present), so you must use the present perfect tense to show this connection to the present.

Have You Attempted These Yet?

Practice 1 uses everyday, conversational English.

Practice 2 uses formal, academic English.

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