Talking about events in the past

Past form in English is not subject to only one tense, as we think… We have many other tenses apart from the Simple past we all know. Let’s discover the latter and others, we ignore…

The Simple past.

The simple past is a verb tense used to talk about actions performed in the past. Simple past is used at two levels in English:

  • To talk about short actions that took place in the past.
    Eg: He stood up, and answered the question.
    He removed the name from the list.
  • To talk about a state that continued in the past but is now finished:
    Eg: He studied in the USA.
    She lived there for ten months.

The present perfect

Past tenses

The present perfect(have/has +pp of the verb) is used:

  • To talk about something that happened during a period of time that is not yet finished:
    Eg: You have not finished the work.
  • To show that an action finished in the past, but still affect the present time.
    Eg: The engine has been damaged.
    I have lost my purse!
  • To show the duration of an action/state with since and for.
    Eg: My friends have finished since 10′.

Source: Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 7th edition.
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