Are currently perfect and easily interchangeable

Present Perfect - Simple Past

Normally one does not differentiate between the perfect and the past tense in German - in contrast to English. In German they are relatively interchangeable. It doesn't really matter if you say:

  • I have won. (Perfect)
  • I won. (Preterite)

Present perfect


  • In the statement: +

    I. have played football. (regular verb)
    She has won the match. (irregular verb)

    Usually one uses "have". "Has" is used in the 3rd person singular. The past participle is formed with the infinitive and the ending "ed".

  • In the negative statement: +

    I. haven't played football. (regular verb)
    She hasn't won the match. (irregular verb)

    Analogous to the sentence, "haven't" is usually used and "hasn't" is used in the 3rd person singular.

  • In the question sentence (except the subject question): The formation takes place exactly as in the statement sentence. The difference is in the word order. As usual in questions, the subject is placed between the auxiliary verb and the past participle. In the subject question the position of the sentence is the same as in the propositional sentence.

    Haveyoudone your homework?
    Hasn'tshetold you about it?
    Whathaveyoudone this time?
    Who has done that? (Subject question)


  • The present perfect describes actions that extend from the past to the present.

  • This tense also shows that someone did something or that something happened (and Not when). The current outcome of an action or the current state is emphasized:

    I have won. (I am the winner.)
    Prices have gone up. (Now prices are high.)
    Have your done your homework? (Can I see them?)

  • The present perfect can also be used with adverbial terms of time that express a relationship to the present and that do not refer to a point in the past. Such times are in particular: ever, never, yet, already, so far, till now, just, before, since and for (dt: since).

    Have you already done your homework?
    No, I have never done them all my life.
    I haven't seen Joe yet.

  • Question words can also create a connection between the past and the present: How long ... ? Since when ... ?

    How long have you been to England?
    Since when has she lived in Germany?

Practical exercises - Present Perfect

Simple past


  • In the declarative sentence of regular verbs: infinitive and ending I played football yesterday.

  • There are also irregular verbs:

    Hey wrote a letter this morning.

  • In the negative sentence: + (This applies to both regular and irregular verbs)

    I. didn't play football last week. (regular verb)
    I. didn't go there. (irregular verb)

  • In the question (except the subject): / + Did you go to the cinema last night?
    Didn't she want to see him yesterday?

  • In the subject question: Here the tense is formed as in the propositional sentence.

    Who ran that business?
    Who didn't want to do that?

  • : The verb "be" is only ever used with its irregular forms

    Declarative sentence: Hey What there. There were five pupils in that room.
    negative statement: Hey wasn't there. There weren't so many people there.
    Question sentence: Who wasn't there? What were you doing there?


  • The simple past is used when you want to represent actions from the past. These can run once, one after the other or repeatedly.

    I. went shopping yesterday. (one-time)
    The student went to the teacher's desk, got his paper and went back to his seat. (successively)
    When my brother What in England Iphoned him quite often. (repeated)

  • The simple past is used with the following adverbial terms: last, yesterday, the day before yesterday, ago

  • With the following adverbial terms one uses the simple past when the respective timepast is: this morning, this afternoon, this evening, this night, this week, this year

  • Of course you also use the simple past Date and Yearswhich also relate to the past: in 1955, on June 12th

Practical Exercises - Simple Past

It is important to pay attention to the adverbial terms mentioned in both sections. If none are available, the present perfect usually focuses on a result or a state.

Practical exercises - Present Perfect and Simple Past

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