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Lesson 1.3

Present Perfect vs. Past Simple

El presente perfecto y el pasado simple
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The past simple is used for actions or events that ended in the past, including the recent past. The present perfect is used for actions or events that are related to the present.

Examples:

Past Simple:

 Did you eat breakfast this morning?(Meaning: The morning has ended)
 I had three exams this week.(Meaning: As in the example above, the use of the past simple indicates that the week has just ended.)

Present Perfect:

 Have you eaten breakfast yet this morning?(Meaning: It is still morning)
 I have had three exams already this week.(Meaning: As before, the use of the present perfect indicates that the week has not yet ended)

Remember that we also use the present perfect for actions or events at an unspecified time in the past. If we want to limit the time of the actions or events to a period of time, we use expressions of time such as “last year”.

Examples:

Past simple:

 I went to Cuba last year.
 They saw a movie yesterday.

Present Perfect:

 I have been to Cuba in the last year.
 They have seen a movie.
They have seen a movie yesterday.

Note: Take note of the difference between the two first examples. The time expression “last year” is used in both, but in the second example, we have added the preposition “in”. In this example, with the use of “in”, we are identifying a period of time in which the action or event occurred, but not a specific time. On the other hand, if we don’t use the preposition “in”, “last year” indicates a specific time in the past.

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