IELTS grammar: when to use the Present Perfect (and how it is different from the Simple Past)

In this week’s video Adam is talking about the Present Perfect tense, that you would use to describe experiences. Why experiences? Because that is the most popular and common use of the Present Perfect! What are experiences? They are things you’ve done, places where you’ve been, meetings with famous people that you’ve had, and so on.

Today Adam will show you the differences between Simple Past and Present Perfect, and after watching this lesson you won’t be making mistakes or mixing these tenses up – you will know when to use the Simple Past, and when to use the Present Perfect. So if you know in theory what Simple Past and Present Perfect are, but you’re often unsure which one to use and when, this video is perfect for you! Getting rid of mistakes in verb tenses will help you score Band 7 or higher in IELTS.

Watch the video on YouTube here

Go here to check YOUR own Speaking score

A quick recap from the video:

– I tried sushi (Simple Past)
– I tried sushi last year (again, Simple Past)
– I have tried sushi (Present Perfect)
– I have tried sushi last year (Using a time expression with Present Perfect is a No-No!)

And now to the difference between the Simple Past and Present Perfect.

The Simple Past is about things that were done and finished in the past, before this conversation started. This is its key characteristic – the actions are 100% finished.

Some examples:
– I woke up early this morning.
– I ate breakfast.
– I went to bed late last night.

The actions in the Present Perfect do not feel ‘certainly finished’.

“I have received many good comments so far.” This sentence means that some comments were already received, and some more may be received in the future.

If we say in the Simple Past “We didn’t receive any good comments on it.”, we mean there weren’t good comments in the past and that’s it, there won’t be any good comments in the future.

Some more examples to show how to use the Present Perfect for experiences:
– I have been to Canada.
– I have seen that new movie.
– I have met that celebrity.

Also in the video – Adam explains the grammatical structure of a sentence in Present Perfect that says something positive, something negative or how to ask a question in the Present Perfect.

And now it is time for a quiz!

How perfect is your your knowledge of the Present Perfect?

10 expressions to help you get Band 7+ in IELTS (Lesson 3)

If you’ve already learnt the idioms from Lesson 2, well done! But don’t worry if you have only joined us now – you can start from any lesson, as they are all useful, and catch up later on the lessons you missed.

So, we have established that using idiomatic expressions in IELTS helps you get a higher score. Now it is just a matter of learning what expressions to use, and how to use them appropriately.

In this video Adam, an ex-IELTS examiner with 10 years of experience, gives you 10 more excellent idioms to use, to get a Band 7 or higher score in your IELTS Speaking or Writing test. Adam explains what every expression means and how to use it in a sentence.

Watch the video on YouTube here

If you’d like to copy and save these useful expressions for later, here is a list, have a look at the idioms below and ask yourself two questions:

Question 1. Do you know what they mean?
Question 2. Can you use them in a sentence?

And then make a sentence about YOU and use one of those expressions. By doing that you are more likely to remember that idiom, because we tend to remember personal things better!

Go here to check YOUR own Speaking score.

10 expressions to help you get a Band 7 in IELTS

1. To get your act together
2. To give someone the benefit of the doubt
3. To go back to the drawing board
4. To hang in there
5. To hit the sack
6. It’s not rocket science
7. To let someone off the hook
8. To make a long story short
9. To miss the boat
10. No pain, no gain

Check your knowledge of idioms



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