Present Perfect vs. Past Simple Games, ESL Activities and Worksheets

How well do you know your partner?

ESL Present Perfect vs. Past Simple Activity - Writing and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 35 minutes

In this free present perfect vs. past simple activity, students see how well they know a partner by completing sentences about them and then verifying the information by asking and answering questions. First, students complete sentences about a partner in the present perfect or past simple using the correct form of the verbs in brackets, e.g. 'James started learning English in 1990'. 'James has had his mobile phone for six months'. Next, students pair up with another student to prepare the questions they need to ask to verify the information, e.g. 'When did you start learning English?' 'How long have you had your mobile phone?' Students then go back to their original partner and find out how many of their sentences are right by taking it in turns to ask and answer questions in the present perfect and past simple. Students score themselves one point for each correct sentence. The student with the highest score wins.
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Interactive Version - In this present perfect vs past simple breakout room activity, students complete statements about a partner using the present perfect or past simple and then find out how many of their sentences are right by asking questions to their partner.

 

I've done that!

ESL Present Perfect and Past Simple Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this engaging present perfect and past simple speaking activity, students play a true or false game where they make present perfect statements and ask and answer Wh questions in the past simple. Students take it in turns to pick up a card and make a present perfect statement, telling the rest of the group they have done the activity on the card, regardless of whether it's true or not, e.g. 'I have been bungee jumping'. The group members then ask the student Wh questions in the past simple to find out the details, e.g. 'Where did you go bungee jumping?' After the student has answered a few questions, each group member decides if the student is telling the truth or lying. The student then reveals the answer. Each group member who guessed correctly scores a point. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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Believe it or not!

ESL Present Perfect vs. Past Simple Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 35 minutes

In this amusing present perfect and past simple game, students make surprising true or false present perfect statements about themselves and their classmates determine whether they are lying or telling the truth by asking past simple follow-up questions. One player goes first and picks up a sentence card from one pile and a true or false card from another. If the player picks up a true card, they make a true present perfect statement about themselves from the prompt on the card. If the player picks up a false card, the student makes a false statement but pretends it is true. The other group members then take it in turns to ask past simple follow-up questions to the player to try to determine whether the statement is true or false. After a few questions have been asked, each group member decides if the player's statement is true or false. The player then reveals the answer. Each group member who guessed correctly, scores a point. The turn then passes to the next player. The student with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
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Molly's CV

ESL Present Perfect vs. Past Simple Worksheet - Reading and Writing Exercises - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this present perfect and past simple worksheet, students read a CV for a person applying to be a toy tester and complete exercises using the present perfect and past simple. To start, students read Molly's CV and write true or false next to statements about Molly. Students then read Molly's cover letter and write each verb in brackets in the present perfect or the past simple. In the last exercise, students write present perfect or past simple questions to go with a set of answers. As an extension, brainstorm present perfect and past simple questions that a job interviewer might ask Molly when applying for a job as a toy tester. Then, in pairs, students role-play the job interview with one student being Molly and the other student being the interviewer.
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Interactive Version - In this present perfect vs past simple interactive worksheet, students do a variety of exercises to practice the past simple and present perfect together.

 

Present Perfect or Past Simple?

ESL Present Perfect or Past Simple Worksheet - Reading and Writing Exercises - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this present perfect and past simple worksheet, students learn and practice how to use past simple and present perfect time expressions. Students start by putting time expressions into the correct category, according to whether they are past simple time expressions or present perfect time expressions. Next, students read a story and underline either the present perfect or past simple form of the verbs using the time expressions in the text to help them. Students then complete present perfect and past simple sentences with the correct form of the verbs in brackets. In the last exercise, students complete sentences with true information about themselves in the present perfect or past simple, according to the time expression in each sentence.
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Interactive Version - In this present perfect or past simple interactive worksheet, students work through a range of exercises to learn and practice time expressions used with the past simple and present perfect.

 

What have I done?

ESL Present Perfect vs. Past Simple Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 40 minutes

In this fun present perfect vs. past simple activity, students play a true or false guessing game to practice the present perfect and past simple. Each member of Team A picks up a card. The cards show something they may or may not have done, but each student in Team A tells Team B they have had the experience, regardless of whether it is true or not. The members of Team A take it in turns to do this by either giving true or made up details using the present perfect to introduce the experience and the past simple to give details. After each member of Team A has spoken, Team B asks past simple follow-up questions about the student's experience to see if they can work out whether the student is lying or telling the truth. After questioning all the team members, Team B decides who is telling the truth or lying. Team A then reveals the answers. For each correct guess, Team B scores a point. It's then Team B's turn to play. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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