English Grammar


Could anybody explain to me when whe use the present perfet and when we use the past simple? I don't find it easy at all! Do you?
thanks fabio


  • Thank's for grammar lesson, Silky.
    I think english conjugation is difficult...
  • good morning
    thank you Silky, really, your explication is so simple as in understoud it quickly
    thank u so much
    waiting for an other temp

    chado from morrocco
  • No biblican sense... however you inspired me for a second beatitude (see "Jokes")

    More seriously: Here is a short list of the verbs that can't be used in a continuous tense.

    1. Auxiliaries: To be (except in the passive ex. the rule is being explained)
    To have( except when it expresses an activity like "to have breakfast
    lunch etc", "to have a shower/a bath"ETC...
    ex.I was having a shower when he came back.
    Can/ May/Must/ Shall/ Will/ Should/Would

    2.Verbs of perception: to see (except when it means to meet: ex.I am seeing you at 10
    to hear
    To smell, to taste, to notice
    to feel (except when the duration is limited ex. I am not feeling
    well at the moment)

    3. Verbs of opinion: to agree, to disagree, to believe,to consider

    4. "Brain verbs" (the action depends on the brains!): to forget, to remember, to know,
    to understand, to imagine, to think when it means "my opinion is ..."

    5. Verbs expressing emotions or feelings:to like, to dislike, to love, to hate, to want,
    to wish, to desire, to need, to prefer, to refuse

    6.Verbs expressing possessions: to have got (British English!),to own, to possess

    7. To consist, to contain, to involve, to represent


    Mind you, there are other exceptions and as there is nothing like "L'académie française", as soon as a lot of people say something, it is considered as correct.Comforting, isn't it? You will soon hear: I am wishing you a merry Christmas...
  • I am pleased that my explanations helped you, Catherine, Chada, Kota Zo and Chakadov. Delighted to read that they went as far as Morocco, a country I have been dreaming of visiting (=Present Perfect Continuous) for a long time. Well, let me try to explain it as clearly as possible. Catherine is right: the use of English tenses IS difficult.That's why I will have to simplify a little. Sorry for the experts!


    1) It is used in FOR and SINCE time expressions and with the question words HOW LONG and SINCE WHEN especially when the action is not completed=finished or when it is temporary.

    EX.1. How long have you been waiting for the bus?
    I have been standing here FOR half an hour/ SINCE 3.30.These buses never come.

    (You are still waiting but it is temporary)

    2. I have been looking for a holiday job FOR two weeks/ SINCE May but I haven't
    found one yet.

    (You are still looking but I hope it is temporary because you will find one or you
    will give up...)

    N.B. You must use the Present Perfect Simple (PPS) with these 4 time expressions

    1.If the verb can't be used in the continuous form (tell me if you want to have the list)

    EX. I have known him for a long time.

    2. If the action is "permanent"

    EX. That statue has stood in the Square for two hundred years.

    3. Very often in negative sentences.

    EX. I haven't smoked since the beginning of the holidays.

    Sometimes it is difficult to say whether the action is "temporary" or "permanent". Then both can be used.

    EX. I have worked/ I have been working here FOR ten years

    2.) The PPC is also used in sentences without FOR/SINCE/ HOW LONG/ SINCE WHEN if you wish to insist on the CONTINUOUS nature of the action or on the length of the action.Two words can help you: ALL or LONG

    EX. I have been working ALL day (maybe you haven't finished or you are fed up!)

    GOOD LUCK! Tell me if something is not clear or ambiguous.
  • What a challenge in such little space! Let's be brief to start with...


    1. When you know "when" the action took place in the past thanks to words like yesterday, last...,...ago or in a past context:
    EX. People suffered a lot during the 2nd World War.

    2. When you list actions that took place one after the other in the past.
    EX. This morning (it is 3 P.M.) I got up, had a shower and then I had
    3. If you start a question referring to the past with "When?"
    EX. When did you see her?


    1.When you refer to actions that took place in an unknown past and have an influence on the present time or last up to the present

    EX. I have lost my keys BUT When DID you lose them?
    I have known them for six months/since Christmas

    2.Some words may help you for example: already,ever, never, until now, not...yet
    EX. Have you ever been to Australia?

    3. After the expression "It's the first time"

    EX. It's the first time I have met him.

    4. After "Just"= venir de

    EX. I hope you have just understood.

    There is also the PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS but don't you think it is enough for today? Let's get all this wrapped up. Good luck. I hope it is a bit clearer now...
  • great!your above explainations deserve to be congratulated
    i've to read again for memorisation expected you'll next share the part related to PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS

    have a pleasant day other there
  • Could anybody explain to me when whe use the present perfet and when we use the past simple? I don't find it easy at all! Do you?
    thanks fabio
  • Thank you, Silky, for such a comprehensive, comprehensible and - I think - understood grammar digest.

    As you are so competent, proficient, open-minded and generous, I'll come back soon with another question.
  • Yes, Silky, I want.

    This is my follow-up to your question between brackets. (PPS 1)

    How lucky we are to know (no biblical sense) such a devoted grammarian!

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