Engleski jezik – Present Perfect Or Past Simple

Present Perfect Or Past Simple

Do you sometimes have a dilemma when to use The Present Perfect Tense and when The Past Simple when you talk about the past?

Which sentence is correct:

a) I travelled to London yesterday.

b) I’ve travelled to London yesterday.

Let’s resolve this difficulty in a very simple way.

Past Simple

Whenever you want to say WHEN something happened in the past, use The Past Simple Tense. This includes using the words which precisely say when:

  • yesterday
  • last week, last Saturday, last year
  • 2 days ago, a year ago
  • in 2019, in the 20th century
  • when I was young, or when for asking questions


I travelled to London yesterday.

We saw our cousin Jim last weekend.

When did you last go on holiday?

We went to Greece last month when I had a vacation.


Present Perfect

If you want to talk about WHAT happened (and finished) in the past but it isn’t important WHEN it happened, then use The Present Perfect Tense.

NEVER use the TIME when something happened with this tense, but be free to use phrases: ever, never, already, just, yet, once, twice, before.


I have never been to Japan.

– Have you ever visited Rio? – Yes, I’ve been there once.

– Would you like some coffee? – No, thanks, I’ve just had one.

– Please sent your report by the end of the day. – Oh, I’ve already sent it to you.

– Have you finished reading the newspaper yet? – No, I haven’t read it yet. But you can have the sports page if you like.

I’ve never heard such nonsense before.


Test your understanding of this lesson with our short quiz. Try to complete the sentences, then click/tap on the key to reveal the correct answers.

Put the verbs from brackets into The Past Simple or Present Perfect

My mum called yesterday to ask for your phone number.

 I can’t believe that she hasn’t been to France before.

Have you ever driven on the left side of the road, like in England?

– Would you like a beer? – No, thanks, I’ve just one.

4. – Would you like a beer? – No, thanks, I had one half an hour ago.

Has your boss ever been angry with you?

Did you try to call me 10 minutes ago? I have a missed phone call.

Have you tried to call me? I have a missed phone call.

I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the last thing you said when the phone rang.

Why not try this fun interactive game too?

Choose the right option – A, B, C or D.

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