Unit 20. Present perfect (I have done) or simple past (I did)?

It is often possible to use the present perfect (I have done) or the simple past (I did):

  • I’ve lost my key. Have you seen it anywhere?
    or: I lost my key. Did you see it anywhere?

    But do not use the present perfect to say when something happened (for example, yesterday, two years ago, when I was a child, etc.). Use a past tense in these sentences:

  • I lost my key yesterday, (not have lost)

  • Did you see the movie on TV last night? (not have you seen)

  • I ate a lot of candy when I was a child, (not have eaten) Use a past tense to ask when or what time something happened:

  • What time did they arrive? (not have they arrived)

  • When were you born? (not have been born)

    Do not use the present perfect (I have done) for happenings and actions that are not connected with the present (for example, historical events):

  • The Chinese invented printing, (not have invented)

  • How many symphonies did Beethoven compose? (not has … composed)

    Now compare these sentences:

    The present perfect always has a connection with the present.

    See Units 13 -19.

    The simple past tells us only about the past.

    See Units 11 -12.

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