Past simple or present perfect simple or continuous?, British Council


The past simple We use the past simple to talk about complete events that happened in the past:I'm very happy because yesterday Julia telephoned me and said she loved me.Remember if we say 'when' something happened, we must use the past simple.The present perfectWe use the present perfect to talk about something that began in the past but is still true now:I've known Julia for 3 years.And when we are interested in the fact, not the moment when it happened:We've decided to get married.The present perfect simple also acts as a bridge between the past and the present:Have you ever fallen in love?Here, we are talking about times in a person's whole life.The Present Perfect ContinuousWe use the present perfect continuous to talk about an activity repeated many times up to now.We've been discussing the wedding all week.And to emphasise an action:Julia's mother has been following our discussions with interest.If we say 'she has followed ...', she is more interested in the result of the discussions.

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