Hi and welcome back. In this
lesson, I will show you how to avoid the most common
mistake that people make with the past simple and present
perfect tenses, and how to use the two tenses correctly. We will do an exercise to
really understand the concept, and there is a quiz
to test your understanding. So let’s start. Have a look at these five
sentences. Some of the
sentences are wrong. Stop the
video, try to make the corrections, then play the
video again and check. Alright, actually, I tricked
you a little bit with that. All of these sentences are
wrong. That’s because, they
all talk about a single, finished action in the past. You can see this on the
timeline. The action can be
at any time in the past – it can be 1998 or it can be last
week or even yesterday. But
if you mention the time for a finished action, then you
MUST use the past simple – not the present perfect. Notice that in all of these
sentences, there is a strong focus on the time when the
action happened. So when do you use the
present perfect? You can use
it if the action happened recently, and you want to
focus on the action and not the time. In our five
sentences, the first three are not recent, they happened
further back in the past. But if I bought a house just
two weeks ago, or last week, I can say “I have bought a
house.” That means I have
bought the house recently. So
if I say to you, “Hey guess what! I have bought a house!”
then I am giving you good news. I’m focusing on buying
the house. I’m not talking
about the time because it’s not important. If you want to know the time,
you can ask “When did you buy it?” Then I can say “I bought
it two weeks ago” or “I bought it last week.” Notice,
again, to mention the time, we use the past simple. Alright, I’m now going to
give you a test to see if you can use these two tenses
correctly. Just remember: if
the past time is important, then use the past simple. If
the time is not important, use the present perfect. You see three dialogues on
the screen. In each sentence,
I want you to choose the correct form of the verb. Stop the video, think about
your answers, then play the video again and check. Alright, let’s discuss the
answers. Number one is “Hey
Sabina, your package has arrived. Here, Ruth is giving
news, so there’s no need to mention the time. For this
reason, we use the present perfect tense. In number two,
“When did it arrive?” We want
to use the past simple here because this question asks
about the specific time that the action happened. Number
three is “It arrived this morning.” because here Ruth
says exactly when it happened – this morning, so the past
simple is correct. Number four – “Hi Paul. Great
news. I have passed my
exams.” In number five,
“Congrats! When did the
results come out?” Number six
is “They came out last night”. Number seven is “Have you
ever been to Argentina?” Here, we don’t mention a time
because the question asks about life experience. The
time is not important. So
it’s like asking: “In your life, have you ever visited
Argentina?” ‘Been’ means
‘visited’ here. Number eight
is “No, I haven’t. Have you?” And number nine – “Yes, I
went there on vacation in 2010.” Here, we want the past
simple because the time is mentioned – 2010. How many answers did you get
right? Let me know in the
comments section below. I’d
like to thank five of our viewers for sending in the
request for this lesson: Michael Cygnus, Sourav Sagar,
Alberto Linhares, Yogesh Dwivedi, and Manish
Chauthani. Alright, click the subscribe
button to get more FREE English lessons, and I will
see you in another lesson soon.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Hey there, I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Let me know if you have any questions. Also check out:
    ➜ 1 Simple Trick to Become FLUENT in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0qT4cK-wtk&list=PLmwr9polMHwsI6vWZkm3W_VE7cWtYVjix
    50 Words You are Pronouncing WRONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdtUjWb0O9w&list=PLmwr9polMHwtOrZVwGuiN8xLup5elPE6f
    Most Common MISTAKES in English & How to Avoid Them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Dax90QyXgI&list=PLmwr9polMHwsR35rD9spEhjFUFa7QblF9
    POWER Writing – Write ANYTHING in English Easily (Essays, Emails, Letters Etc.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT_D68RJ5T8&list=PLmwr9polMHwtPulG3q4SrSNIZzlJl2gXf
    100 English Sentences You Can Use in Conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dRuy1VLCiQ&list=PLmwr9polMHwsI6vWZkm3W_VE7cWtYVjix
    ➜ Learn TELEPHONE English – 100 Sentences You Can Use on the Phone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkppeSjRj0E&list=PLmwr9polMHwsI6vWZkm3W_VE7cWtYVjix
    ➜ Speak English FLUENTLY like a NATIVE SPEAKER with just 10 words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KU2eobDMqs&list=PLmwr9polMHwsI6vWZkm3W_VE7cWtYVjix
    ➜ All GRAMMAR lessons: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmwr9polMHwsR35rD9spEhjFUFa7QblF9
    ➜ All MODAL VERBS Lessons (Could, Would, Should, May, Might, Must etc.): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmwr9polMHwvGTssgSU9KWEm2T4WiWaTj
    ➜ All PARTS OF SPEECH lessons: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmwr9polMHwsQmAjoAxtFvwk_PaqQeS68
    ➜ All ARTICLES (a, an, the) lessons: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmwr9polMHwsbkqz6kU5e6MgpvaYrpKfX
    ➜ All PRONUNCIATION lessons: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmwr9polMHwtOrZVwGuiN8xLup5elPE6f
    ➜ All TENSES lessons: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmwr9polMHwsRNZW607CtVZhg_SzsbiJw

  2. Hands down , u r down to earth person . Teaching quality is awesome …. Thanks a lot sir … Blessed to have u as a teacher in my life .

  3. Thank you so much for this simple explanation but could you tell me when I use for, since here I 'm mentioning a time and using present perfect so could you tell me that point and thank you again for this video

  4. I want to get this type of video on all the types past and future tenses (Withh figure, pictorial example..)..
    Sir ,Would u like to make it….

  5. Hi Ganesh. Please tell me what is the difference between past tenses and perfect tenses. How can this be explained? Please help.

  6. Which one is the correct sentence and what is the difference ?
    1. In most of the discussions, focus has been given to the food availability.

    2. In most of the discussions, focus is given to the food availability.

  7. What is the dfference between these 2 sentences and which one is right ?

    1. While the population continues to grow, the food production has never kept pace with it.

    2. While the population continues to grow, the food production doesn't keep pace with it.

    Thank you!

  8. Could you please answer my question: "I didn't/haven't seen him this morning." Now, you said that for a specific time, we should use the past simple; nevertheless, my teacher has answered it using present perfect, like this: "I haven't seen him this morning." So is she mistaken or not?

  9. If the time is NOT MENTIONED, do you HAVE to use the Present Perfect or is it optional i.e. can you use either the past simple or the present perfect? Please let me know. THANKS.

  10. Sir, 'the next morning she was taken ill. Here how was taken is correct? If it correct please explain sir because with was we use v+ing form. right..

  11. CAN YOU SAY I HAVE WATCHED THREE MOVIES THIS WEEK. I am mentioning time; however, it is current time. Please let me know.

  12. Dear teacher. Explain these two sentences. I do not understand why in the first sentence it is used present perfect, and in other sentence it is used past simple.
    1. Sam is from Colorado, which is hundreds of miles from the coast, so he has never seen the ocean. He should come with us to Miami.
    2. How sad! George dreamt of going to California before he died, but he didn't make it. He never saw the ocean.

  13. sir, I have two questions can you give me the answer with explanation

    1. I _____(study) Philosophy for a few years and I think it is a real advantage in life. I'm still
    learning Philosophy.
    2. He has worked hard for 3 years and he is proud because he ____ (pass) his exam.

  14. Hello Please make a video on

    Present perfect continue
    Passive – present perfect.

    She has given a gift.
    She has been given a gift.

    It's confusing.

  15. Sir, you are great ! Day by day I am learning good concepts of English because of your channel. Thank you very much Ganesh Sir !!!!

  16. This video is so useful! I have one doubt though. What about indefinite times? For example if I want to say, "I've been/went to London this year." Which one is correct?

  17. Thorough, gre8 presentation skill.👍
    you explained so well. But year after now I'm expecting deep lessons on other tense too

  18. Sir, your videos are extremely useful. They help me a lot for my examinations. In addition, your teaching skills make it more easy to understand.
    Thank you Ganesh sir.

  19. I have watched so many english video, but when I watch you, then that concept is crystal clear. Truly your are best teacher ever I have seen.

  20. Thank you so much for such great explanation! Mostly people have doubt in this concept, now I believe it is easy to understand. Also, I request you to make some videos on the usage of punctuation marks.

  21. But what about the sentence "He has taught English for six years."? What does it mean? He has taught English for six years, but he quit recently? Or? Thanks…

  22. Nice to see people are actually educating us here on this platform , your explanations as well as the delivery of the topic is quite amazing , Loads of love from our side… Sorry for my gramatical mistakes ,, i seriously need grammerly!!

  23. Can you please tell me about it.

    He described that how the world has changed over a relatively shorter period of time?

    Is it ok to use HAS?

  24. Mr. Ganesh, Could you please let me know if sentence 1 is correct although there is a time line?
    1. Things have changed greatly in the last 25 years.
    2. Things changed greatly in the last 25 years.
    1. My best friends and I have known each other for over three years. -(just realized this is correct).
    2. My best friends and I knew each other for over three years.

  25. Sir in no 3 sentence. Answer may be it has arrived this morning. If they are talking about it before 12 AM. Day is not finished.

  26. Hi bro—-
    I have lived in London for 7 years.(still Iam there. Little conversation can use it)
    I have been living in London for 7 years.
    I lived in London for 7 years. (Iam not there)
    I had lived in London for 7 years – – – – – which one is correct

  27. Hello sir,

    Thank you so much for your lesson. this video clears my doubts about present perfect and simple past.

  28. I have clearly understood your explainatoon ans many thanks I would like to know if we Can use also past simple even if time is not specify ?

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