When you explain your project to someone what do you choose between:

  • I did this simulation because..., I considered only ...
  • I have done this simulation because ..., I have considered only...

To me, PS is used when the project is finished. Whereas PP when the project is ongoing. Except if I say "I did it at the beginning" when there is a time reference.

Is it correct? But I think that PS could be good everywhere because if this is not finished we would say "I am currently doing"...

If the project is to do 3 simulations, and the 2 first are finished and I just started the last one. If I tell to someone my work. I can say "I did the simulation 1 and 2" ? (PS), because they are considered finished.

1 Answer 1


Both are fine, and choosing the past simple does not necessarily imply that the whole project is finished, only that you are choosing to present that activity - the simulation - as a completed action.

Equally, using the perfect doesn't necessarily imply that the project is still in progress, only that you are choosing to present that activity as having present relevance. That present relevance is quite likely to be that the project is not yet finished; but it might be that you are regarding the simulation as one in a series which is still continuing, even if this particular project is complete.

  • So I can only use the past simple in both case because it's easier? Indeed, the present relevance sometimes can be hard to find.
    – safarie
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 14:10
  • The normal interpretation of your question, @safarie, would be "I can use the past simple in both cases only because it's easier", or "The only way of justifying using the past simple is that it's easier". I don't think that's what you meant. I suspect what you meant was "I can just use the past simple in both cases because it's easier". The answer is, yes, you can use the past simple in both cases. But English speakers don't do that because it's easier: it's not easier or harder for us. We use the one that conveys our intended meaning.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 16:34

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