We use the present perfect simple to talk about:
- experiences in our lifetime, or another unfinished time period: Have you ever had a job interview? I’ve never worked in an office. (We can use adverbs like ever, never, three times, etc.)
- news and recent events, often with a present result: They’ve just offered me the job. (result = I’ve got a job.) The interviews have already finished – you’re too late. (result = you can’t have an interview). She hasn’t called me back yet. (result = I’m still waiting to speak to her).
- unfinished states (when we want to talk about the duration): I’ve only had this phone for a week. We’ve lived in London since 2010. (We use
forto give the duration or since to give the starting point).
We use the past simple for completed past actions in a completed past time period:
- She didn’t get the job.
- The interviews finished five minutes ago.
- Why did you miss the bus?
We often use past time phrases like last week, a few days ago, when I was a child.
Present Perfect and Past Simple?
We often introduce a topic with the present perfect and then change to the past simple in the next sentence to talk about the details:
- I’ve had lots of job interviews. The last one was about three months ago – it was terrible.
- I’ve lost my keys. Maybe I left them on the bus this morning.
- He hasn’t worked here long. He started a few weeks ago.
Don’t use the present perfect when you describe an action that happened at a particular time. Use a past tense instead: They left yesterday / at four o’clock / ten minutes ago.