Students often have a problem understanding when exactly to use the present perfect tense and often use it interchangeably with the past simple. When explaining this tense, I tend to emphasise the word present, as in the action which we are talking about has a strong connection to the present moment. For example, I’ve spilt coffee on my keyboards (I need a new keyboard), I’ve forgotten my password (I can’t log-in at the moment). Or the activity remains unresolved, for example, we’ve been invited to dinner (the dinner hasn’t taken place yet), I’ve lost my car keys (I don’t know how I’m going to get home).
Sometimes I use simple mimes to elicit examples like Oh No; I’ve forgotten to bring my wallet, I’ve eaten too much, or I’ve just seen a giant UFO but there are quite a limited number of appropriate and suitable scenarios which you can use to illustrate the point.
This photoset provides more examples of past actions which have a strong connection to the present moment. I would click through them and ask questions like why does she look so shocked? or why is he so happy?
Click on a picture to open up a gallery.