Verbs and their tenses are time defining parts of English. English has three broad categories of tenses – Past, Present and Future. Within these we have various sub-categories, such as present, present continuous, present perfect, simple past and past perfect. For each of these tenses there are specific words to be used in a specific way to be grammatically correct. In this High English quiz we look at two of the tenses – present perfect and simple past – in a comparative manner, and try to understand the differences.
One could get confused while using these tenses. The present perfect tense has a form that uses either HAVE/HAS together with the past participle of a VERB, or HAVE/HAS together with BEEN and the past participle of a VERB. Here are two examples:
‘They have gone to the market.’
‘The accused has been remanded to custody.’
These two sentences show the usage of present perfect tense, with have/has and the appropriate verbs.
The simple past tense uses verbs in their simple past forms. Simple to use, as its name implies! Here are some examples:
‘He passed the Board Exam with distinction.’
‘Sania Mirza lost her semi-final match.’
‘They beat them up in the dark alley.’
These three sentences show the usage of simple past tense with the verbs 'pass-passed', 'lose-lost' and 'beat-beat'.
The main difference between present perfect and simple past forms is the state of the action – whether it is completed or not. For instance, in the sentence ‘he MADE a lot of new enemies’ an action has been completed, whereas in the sentence ‘he HAS MADE a lot of new enemies’ an action may not have been completed although it does not continue. The first sentence, as we know, is in the simple past tense and the second is in the present perfect tense.
In the quiz that follows we will learn more about the differences between the two tense forms.