Past vs Present Perfect
Past and Present Perfect are two grammatical forms of a verb used in the English language, which makes it necessary for everyone to know the difference between them in order to use them accurately when using English. When speaking about past and present perfect, it can be said that they are two different tense forms of a verb. Past tense indicates that the action was completed in the past. On the other hand, present perfect tense indicates that the action was completed in the present. This is the main difference between past tense and present perfect tense.
What is Past Tense?
When speaking about past tense, we use it for a finished time in the past. Observe the two sentences given below:
I looked at my mother from a distance.
She gave her book to her friend.
In both the sentences, you can see that the verbs ‘looked’ and ‘gave’ are used in the past tense form. They indicate that the actions were complete a short while prior to their corresponding future actions. You can also see that these actions were completed in the pastbut theydo not have a connection with the present. Past tense verbs are used in narration, which is an act of describing something that happened in the past.
What is Present Perfect?
On the other hand, the present perfect tense is used to describe some action that happened in the past, and has a link or a connection to the present. In other words, it has a relationship with the present. This action is considered to be completed at the present time. Observe the two sentences given below:
I have done my homework.
I have forgotten to take my book to the school.
In the first sentence, you get the special meaning that ‘I did my homework in the past too, but the time is not important, only that it is done now’. In the same way, you get the meaning from the second sentence also as ‘I forgot to take my book in the past a few times, it is forgotten now too.’ This is the main difference between past tense and present perfect tense. It is in fact wrong to use the time when you use present perfect tense. It is wrong to say ‘I have done my homework last night’. However, to fully understand the difference between past and present perfect one should see how they are used together. Look at the following example.
Hansel grew a moustache but now he has shaved it off.
You will see that this sentence means Hansel grew a moustache in the past but now he does not have a moustache.
What is the difference between Past and Present Perfect?
• Past tense indicates that the action was completedin the past. On the other hand, present perfect tense indicates that the action has been completed in the present.
• Present perfect is for a period of time that continues from the past until now.
• Using a time tag when using present perfect is wrong.
• It is wrong to use present perfect without a connection to the present.
• Past tense is also used in narration.