I have trouble understanding when to use present perfect and past simple in situations like these.

It's possibile to use this tense if /when you have taken/took some time ,days for example to complete that action.

What would you say? Could you also explain to me why you would use which ?

2 Answers 2


Good question. There are many ways we use different tenses in English. It is obvious that an English language learner gets confused sometimes as which tense to be used in a particular situation. People usually are unable to choose between simple past and present perfect in a situation like you have mentioned. To be able understand the correct usage we need to get into it in details.

When an action is completed in past it can be expressed in two ways. 1. I completed the project. (Simple past) 2. I have completed the project. (Present perfect)

The difference lies in What we focus on. In simple past our focus is just on what happened in the past with no reference to it's present implications. When our focus is on the result of the past action in the present time we use present perfect.

{Please note: There are other ways to use these tenses also. We are focussing on the particular situation we are dealing with.}

The first sentence (simple past) only talks about an activity that was completed in the past. In the second (present perfect) talks about the result of that activity in the present i.e. now I am free from it, or I am eligible for something (like promotion), or now I can think about something else. Go to the following link and look at the third row in the table given:


Let's look at some more examples: 1. I saw the movie... (Just a mention of past action)

I have seen the movie. ( the focus is on the result of the action in the present... that now I can tell the story, or I still remember it)

Other examples of using present perfect for the actions happened in the past (at a particular point of time, or over a period of time in the past)

  1. I have completed my graduation (now I am qualified)

  2. I have spoken with my client about the pending bill. (now the client might be thinking about it)

  3. I have completed my homework (now I am free to do something else)

  4. I have informed my boss about it (now my boss is looking into it, or at least I am free from my responsibility, I have done my job)

I think this much will suffice. Thank you!


It is a conditional example in which the dependent clause take the present simple tense whether you put if or other conjunctions. It's possible to use this tense if you take some time......

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