Simple Past vs Present Perfect – lesson 13

Lesson 13

Theme for the lesson: Global Goal 9 – Industries, Innovation and Infrastructure



Vocabulary for the lesson: 

Sanitation:……….the method in which dirty water and waste products are taken away from homes and buildings (noun)

Infrastructure:..the systems and services of a community of nation such as transport and power supplies to enable a community or nation to function (noun)

Innovation:……..a new method or way of doing things (noun)

Daunting:…………having a doubt about being able to overcome something (adjective)


Resources on this blog:

Past Simple verb – lesson 3 

Past Simple verb – additional information

Present Perfect verb – lesson 7

The UN Sustainable Development Website: 

Global Goal 9 – Why it Matters


In-a-cafe1In this picture two friends are enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the global economy (see story below):


Present Perfect and Past Simple Story

In this story I have used both the Past Simple and the Present Perfect:

Recently I met a friend (past simple) who I hadn’t seen for a long time (present perfect).  His name is John (I introduced John in the last lesson on this blog).

John works as a researcher.  Last week we met for a cup of coffee (past simple). Whenever I see John he always tells me about the research projects that he has worked on (present perfect) and these are usually about the global economy.  He told me (past simple) that the world’s poorest people in various parts of the world have suffered the most (present perfect) and this will continue unless there is a huge change in the promotion of technology and infrastructure.

The consequences of no progress means that the poorest countries continue to suffer from poor health and poor health care facilities.  Inadequate sanitation and a water supply which is non-existent or is poisoned by chemicals which are in the air, water or soil is a normal state of affairs for a lot of people.  Inequality is something that will continue in an extreme form in relation to rich and poor parts of the world.   And so, it’s necessary to invest and bring up-to-date the use of technology and infrastructure and these need to be the priorities of all countries around the world.

Coming up-to-date is a priority because in today’s world where governments and businesses are aware of global warming their response is crucial as to whether they move towards a sustainable future or let things remain the same.

Before I parted from my friend I asked him some personal questions: “How long have you worked on your current research project about the economy?” (Present Perfect).   John replied: “I worked on it for about a year” (Past Simple).    Did you see that film that I told you about?  (Past Simple).  He replied: “Oh yes, I watched it last night and also saw it at the cinema a few weeks ago” (Past Simple).

Raymond Van Neste – 5 March 2020

Copyright. Present Perfect and Past Simple Story ©  Raymond Van Neste. 5 March 2020



Comparing the Past Simple and the Present Perfect verbs in the story about my friend

In the story above recently I met my friend.  This action is finished and it ended in the past.  I met my friend in the past.   Therefore it is the Past Simple verb because the action finished at some stage in the past.

I hadn’t seen my friend for a long time.   Hadn’t seen is the Present Perfect verb.  If I say that I hadn’t seen (had not seen) my friend I’m saying that in the past I had not seen him but my experience of seeing him continues up until now and it somehow effects me now.

He has worked on his research (Present Perfect) means that in the past he worked on his research and it’s possible that he still does.

He told me.  This task is finished so it’s the Past Simple verb.

Have suffered. They have suffered in the past and it’s possible that they may still be suffering (Present Perfect).

Have you worked?  This question is the Present Perfect verb.   If I add have before the verb worked it signifies that he has worked on the project in the past and continues to work on it now.

John replied that he worked on it for about a year (Past simple).   He is saying that he no longer works on that project.   The project is now finished.  Worked is in the past.

Did you see that film?  This is a question using did (Past Simple).  If you ask a question using did it means that you are asking a question about something which happened in the past and has finished at some point in the past.  It does not continue to now.

Watched it last night (Past Simple).  He watched it last night and this is in the past and is finished.

Copyright. Comparing the Past Simple and Present Perfect verbs in the Story about my Friend © Raymond Van Neste. 5 March 2020


End of lesson



Next Lesson:

The next lesson is postponed but will be on this blog very soon.