Sometimes it is rather difficult to tell The Past Indefinite from the Present Perfect Tense, but it is necessary to remember that there are essential differences in the use of the tenses.
Read the material, given in the table and give your own examples to each point.
| Past Indefinite
|| Present Perfect
| 1. Past Indefinite describes the action, referred to the past, and it isn’t connected with the present.
Markers: ago (a month ago, three days ago), the other day, yesterday, last week (year, month), in July, in 1949
|| 1. Present Perfect shows
a) that the action has just taken place:
I have just read the book.
b) the result of the action is important for the running moment
I have lost my key (I do not have it now)
Markers: this week (month, year…), today, since 1998, just, recently, lately, already, yet
We use the tense to show the action, happening at a period of time, that continues from the past until now (today, this week)
| Example: I wrote several letters yesterday. (the action is referred to the past)
|| Example: I have written several letters today (the day is still running)
| Example: I saw the film 7 days ago (the concrete moment is shown, we know even the date of the event)
|| Example: I have seen the film, so I can tell you about the plot and the main personages. (the moment, when the film was seen is not shown as it is not so important. We are interested in the result of the action.)
| 2. The Past Indefinite tense is used in special questions with when, as asking and answering such questions we are interested in the moment the action took place.
|| 2. The Present Perfect tense is used with the verb “to be” (meaning “to travel”, “to go”, “to visit”). In this case it is necessary to use the preposition “to”
| When were you in England?
I was in England 3 years ago.
|| – Have you ever been to England?
– Yes, I have been there once.
I was there in 1985. (. Past Indefinite is used here as the concrete date is shown here)
Exercise 1.Use the verbs given in brackets in the Past Indefinite or the Present Perfect. Explain your use this or that form, opening the brackets:
- I (to meet) two of my friends today. I (to meet) them on my way to school.
- A month ago my uncle (to build) a new house in the country. We (to visit) it recently and (enjoy) ourselves very much.
- He (to forget) to close the window when he (to leave) the house.
- He (to write) several letters this week.
- Where Helen (to go)? I don’t see her here. – She (to go) home an hour ago.
- When the concert (to begin)?
- I do not think I ever (to see) such a beautiful garden as this one.
- Jack London (to be born) in San Francisco in an extremely poor family.
- You (to read) many books by Jack London?
- How careless you are! You (to break) your mother’s favorite cup.
Exercise 2.Use the verbs given in brackets in the Past Indefinite or the Present Perfect. Ask questions to the underlined words.
- I never (to hear) the storyfrom my father.
- He (to be) a reader of this magazinefor years.
- She (to be) ill last week.
- I cannot tell you whether I like this book, as I not (to read) it.
- My mother not (to come) home yet.
- I cannot give you this book as (to give) it to Ann.
- The child (to be) quite all right for the last two weeks.
- It is cold today. The weather (to change) since yesterday.
- You ever (to visit) this picture gallery?
- I (to lose) my textbook and cannot remember when I last (to see) it.
Exercise 3.Make up mini-dialogues: ask your partner, if he has done some exiting and interesting activities. Ask him to tell about the experience in detail:
Model: to watch films with Charlie Chaplin
- Have you ever watched films with Charlie Chaplin?
- Yes, I have. I have watched the films with Charlie Chaplin.
- When did you watch the film?
- I saw the film when I was 7 years old.
- Did you enjoy it?
- Yes, I did. I loved the film. Have you watched any films by Charlie Chaplin?
Exercise 4.Speak about your experience:
- to travel abroad,
- to read English book in the original,
- to taste any exotic dish,
- to buy an evening gown,
- to change your style in clothes,
- to travel alone,
- to cook a festive dinner yourself,
- to furnish your room independently,
- change your style in makeup,
- to dine at an expensive restaurant,
- to spend summer at the seaside,
The Structure “Used to do”
The structure “used to” is used, when we are speaking about some habitual action, which was given up and now is not actual.
a) the structure denotes something that happened regularly in the past, but no longer happens:
I used to play tennis a lot, but I do not play it very often now.
b) We use the structure for showing something, that was true, but it is not true anymore.
This building is a furniture shop now. Though it used to be a cinema before.
c) The structure “used to” is past. There is no present form.
He used to smoke too much (past), now he doesn’t smoke at all(present).
The Forms of the Structure “USED TO”
|| Sub used to V.
|| Val used to eat much chocolate, when she was a child. But now she prefers fruit.
|| Sub did not use toV.
(Sub didn’t use toV)
|| Val didn’t use to eat fruit, when she was a child. But now after she gave up eating chocolate, she prefers fruit.
|| Did Sub use toV?
|| Did Val use to eat fruit, when she was a child?
Yes, she did.
No, she didn’t.
BUT! Do not confuse “I used to do” and “I am used to doing”
| I used to live alone
(I lived alone some time ago, but now I no longer live alone)
|| I am used to living alone
(I live alone now and I don’t feel strange or new, as I have been living alone for some time)
Complete the sentences with the structure “used to” and use the prompts, given in the brackets.
Model: Helen gave up drinking alcohol. (Wine, whisky) – Helen gave up drinking alcohol. Though she used to drink much wine and whisky a day some years ago.
1. We became vegetarians, and it was rather difficult for us as … (sausages, rissoles, and beefsteak).
2. The Ramonds live in a big apartment in the centre of the city now. It was no easy matter for them to settle down there, because … (village, quiet life)
3. I do not like sweets now, in spite of the fact … (chocolate bars/ childhood)
4. Jake let me seriously down, that’s why we decided to split, but (to rely on/ to trust)
5. Getting ready for our masked ball, we went to our granny’s attic to look for original costumes. It was the best way to surprise everybody as the granny … (to create.../ to dream of a career of a designer).
6. I do not like to go to the Puppet theatre with my children, though when I was a child… (to frequent)
7. I bought a car and now I adore driving it. It is not a surprise for my friends, as they know, that being a child… (a bicycle).
Exercise 2.Alexander has changed his style of life after entering the university greatly. Describe Alexander’s style of life before and after his entrance examinations, using the structure “used to” and “didn’t use to”:
Model: He used to live with his parents and he did not use to live at a hostel
| Before he entered the university
|| After he entered the university
| 1. he lived with his parents
2. he went to bed early
3. he woke up rather late
4. he didn’t cook himself
5. he spent little time on his home task
6. he didn’t wash his dirty clothes
7. he went to the library very seldom.
|| 1. he lives at a hostel
2. he sits up late very often
3. he gets up early
4. he learns to cook
5. he spends all his time on reading
6. he does the washing himself
7. he spends many hours making notes.
Exercise 3.Tell, how your life has changed since the moment you entered the University, using the structure “used to”.
The Future in the Past
The tense is used to denote an action, taking place later than some other past action.
Example: Nick was sure that Frank would come to the meeting in time and they would spend good time together.
Thus, would/wouldn’t is the past of will/won’t
| Tom: I’ll phone you on Sunday.
|| Tom said he would phone me on Sunday.
| Ann: I promise I won’t be late
|| Ann promised that she would not be late.
| Liz: I will get wet through because of the rain
|| Liz was angry because she would get wet through because of the rain.