When to use the Present Perfect or the Past Simple (PART 1)

Trying to determine how and when we use the Present Perfect or the Past Simple is somewhat unknown to many students when we refer to what has happened, or what happened TODAY.

Let’s imagine that right now it is 11am, and we are having a conversation with our friends at school, university or work, and we want to say the following sentence in English:

-Me he levantado a las 07:00.

Now if we translate literally, we end up saying: I have got up at 7am. This is exactly where the problem lies for students because they are so used to using the Present Perfect for the past today, and the Past Simple for yesterday and beyond. English people would say: I got up at 7am, because it is something that happened a few hours ago.

In English, we use the Present perfect for the last couple of hours, and beyond that, we then use the Past simple. Look at the examples below:

Let’s imagine it is now 6pm in the UK.

-We have come home from work in a hurry. (we have recently finished work)

-I had a relaxing lunch with my boss today. (that happened my than 2 hours ago)

-I did a presentation just after lunch and it went very well indeed. (that happened my than 2 hours ago)

-My boss has called to say that I can take tomorrow off. (that has happened recently, around 1 hour ago)

It is so important that you follow this rule when you speak English because if you translate from Spanish, you will make mistakes, since it is normal in Spain when having dinner at 10pm to talk about what has happened in your day at work, university or school, using the PRESENT PERFECT for everything. Now you can see that in English, we have to use BOTH when we talk about what has happened today, taking care with what has happened and when.

We hope you have enjoyed this little, but important explanation about the English language. Before we finish, there are other differences between the above grammar and next week, we will explain them as well, in the usual thorough manner.

See you soon, here in our blog!

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Intentar determinar cómo y cuándo usamos el Present Perfect o el Past Simple es algo que muchos estudiantes desconocen cuando nos referimos a lo que ha ocurrido o lo que sucedió HOY.

Imaginemos que ahora son las 11 a.m., y estamos conversando con nuestros amigos en el colegio, instituto, en la universidad o en el trabajo, y queremos decir la siguiente oración en inglés: “Me he levantado a las 7:00 h.”

Si traducimos literalmente, acabaremos diciendo: Me levanté a las 7 a.m. Es precisamente aquí donde se encuentra el problema para los estudiantes ya que están acostumbrados a usar el Presente Perfecto para lo que ha pasado hoy y el Pasado Simple para lo sucedido ayer y más atrás en el tiempo. Un británico diría: “Me levanté a las 7 de la mañana”, porque es algo que sucedió hace unas horas.

En inglés, usamos el Presente Perfecto durante las últimas DOS horas, y más allá de eso en el tiempo, utilizamos el Pasado Simple. Echa un vistazo a los siguientes ejemplos:

Imaginemos que son las 6 de la tarde en el Reino Unido.

– Hemos llegado a casa del trabajo a toda prisa. (Acabamos de terminar de trabajar)

– Tuve un almuerzo tranquilo con mi jefe hoy. (Eso sucedió hace más de 2 horas)

– Hice una presentación justo después del almuerzo y me fue muy bien. (eso sucedió hace más de 2 horas)

– Mi jefe me ha llamado para decirme que puedo tomarme mañana libre. (Eso ha sucedido recientemente, hace aproximadamente 1 hora)

Es muy importante que sigas esta regla cuando hables en inglés porque si traduces del español, cometerás errores, ya que en España al ser habitual cenar a las 10 p.m., a la hora de hablar sobre lo que sucedió en tu día en el trabajo, la universidad, el instituto o el colegio, se utiliza el PRESENTE PERFECTO para todo. Ahora hemos podido ver que, en inglés, tenemos que usar AMBOS cuando hablamos de lo que sucedió hoy, teniendo muy en cuenta lo que sucedió y cuándo.

Esperamos que hayas disfrutado de esta pequeña pero no menos importante explicación sobre el inglés. Antes de terminar, hay otras diferencias entre la gramática que acabamos de ver y “la semana que viene”. Dichas diferencias os las explicaremos también de manera detallada próximamente.

¡Nos vemos muy pronto aquí, en nuestro blog!

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