Have you ever been to the Taj Mahal?

English Speaking Topic

Have you ever been to the Taj Mahal?

In this lesson, you will learn to use the Present Perfect and Past Simple Tense. Listen to the conversation and learn how to use Present Tense and Past Simple in English. What is the difference? And when to use?

A Have you ever been to the Taj Mahal?
B Yes I have. I‘ve been to the Taj Mahal three or four times. In fact, I was there three weeks ago.
A Really? Did you go with Lucy?
B No, I didn’t. I went with some friends from work.
A Oh, you’re so lucky. I‘ve never visited India.
B India? Oh, I haven’t been to India, either.
A But …
B I‘ve eaten at the Taj Mahal restaurant near the cinema. I ate there three weeks ago. The food was very good.

 

Language Note:

Present Perfect and Past Simple

We can use the Present Perfect Tense for experiences up until now.

Have you ever been to the Taj Mahal?
I‘ve been to the Taj Mahal three or four times.
I‘ve never visited India.
I‘ve eaten at the Taj Mahal restaurant

We use the Past Simple for a specific event or time in the past.

Did you go with Lucy?
I went with some friends from work.
I ate there three weeks ago.
The food was very good.

 

What is the difference between Present Perfect and Past Simple?

Mostly we will recognize the Present Perfect and Past Simple by the signal words or time expression.

Signal words of Present Perfect

  • ever
  • just
  • (not) yet
  • so far
  • up to now
  • already
  • never
  • until now / till now
  • lately recently

Signal words of Past Simple

  • ago
  • in 2015
  • yesterday
  • last week, last year…
  • the other day
  • previous

 

Use of Present Perfect and Past Simple

We use Present Perfect to with just/already/yet, and with no specific time. Meanwhile we use Past Simple to say something happened at a certain time in the past.

Present Perfect
just/already/yet
Past Simple
happened at a certain time
She has just left the house. She left the house 5 minutes ago.
They have already finished their work. They finished their work yesterday.
I haven’t had breakfast yet. I had breakfast early this morning.

 

We use Present Perfect with up to now/till now/lately/recently to say something happened in the past, but results last to present. And we use Past Simple to say a certain event in the past.

Present Perfect
up to now/till now/lately/recently
Past Simple
a certain event in the past
We haven’t heard about him recently We heard about him last month in a pub.
They have been to India three times up to now. They was in India in 2010.
I haven’t bought a bicycle lately. I bought a bicycle last week.

 

We use Present Tense to emphasis the result in the past to present. We use Past Simple to to express what happened in the past.

Present Perfect
emphasis the result
Past Simple
express what happened in the past
I‘ve broken my leg.
(my leg is broken, and I am in hospital now)
I broke my leg last month.
(my leg was broken but I recovered, and now I can walk.)
They have just built a new house.
(They built a house, and it’s still new now.)
They built a new house 2 years ago.
(They built a house. It was new 2 years agon, but this year it is not)

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