ESL grammar · Grammar · Irregular verb · Past Simple · Present perfect · tenses

Walked or Have Walked? – How to Distinguish Between Past Simple and Present Perfect

I’m going to review with you how to use Past Simple and Present Perfect.

If you need more than just a review, you can read more about these tenses here and here.

Past simple is the easier of the two to understand.

walk on the beach

When Do You Use Past Simple?

When something happened in the past. The past can be last year, last week, yesterday or earlier this day.


We walked on the beach yesterday afternoon.

Did you go to the Pet Shops Boys’ concert last month?

Verb Forms in Past Simple:

The regular verbs in past simple are with –ed at the end.

The irregular verbs are all different. The past form of go is went, the past of write is wrote, and the past of sing is sang. If you want to look up a particular verb, here is a list

For questions and negatives you use “did.”

When Do You Use Present Perfect?

You use present perfect when something in the past has a connection with the present moment (or today), or it has happened from some time in the past until the present moment.


Have you changed your hairstyle? You look great!

I’ve drunk three cups of coffee so far.

Verb Form of Present Perfect

You should use: have/has + verb + -ed for regular verbs. Example: have walked or has walked.

For irregular forms, use have/has with the third form of the verb that belongs to that verb. For instance, the present perfect of write is have/has written. The present perfect of go is have/has gone.

Again, if you need to find a particular verb consult the list here.

As said, if all this sounds like abracadabra to you, you really should go back to the basic explanations of the verb tenses. Use the links I gave you at the beginning of this article.

Now here is an exercise:

Fill in the past simple or present perfect of the verbs between brackets ().

Click here to do the quiz online and check your answers.

1 I seem to have lost my keys. It’s strange because I __________ (put) them in my coat pocket this morning.

2 Dolly and Mory ____________ (be) married for thirty years and they’re still happy.

3 My grandfather __________ (die) ten years ago and I don’t remember him well.

4 Peter __________ (never meet) his aunt yet because she lives far away.

5 I don’t see Mr Dubois with his eternal pipe anymore. ___________ he ____________ (give) up smoking?

6 Ms Richards looks funny in a training suit. I ______________ (never see) her in anything but a skirt.

7 “Can I speak to Alex, please?” “No, I’m afraid he ___________ (go) out.”

“Oh, what a pity. When exactly ________ he __________ (go) out?”

“About half an hour ago.”

8 __________ you ____________ (visit) the pyramids when you _____________ (be) in Egypt?

9 I __________ (check) my emails this morning, but I ___________ (not enter) the internet since then.

10 “Would you like to try some of this freshly-baked cake?” “No, thanks, I _____________ (just eat) lunch.

Also check out these other quizzes with present perfect and past simple:

Present Perfect with I have

Present Perfect with I haven’t

Present Perfect and Past Simple


8 thoughts on “Walked or Have Walked? – How to Distinguish Between Past Simple and Present Perfect

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