Dario De Santis Dario De Santis

Present perfect vs Past Simple
Intermediate level


In this lesson students compare the use of past simple and present perfect through a guided discovery based on a short reading about a couple arguing about money (the context). After filling the gaps students listen and check their answers. Then they complete a handout to work out the difference in use of these two past tenses. After some controlled practice of TL, students carry out a mingle speaking activity, followed by language FB.


Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with clarification and practice of the uses of present perfect and past simple in the context of money

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide fluency and accuracy speaking practice in a interview in the context of past experiences related to money
  • To provide gist listening practice using a text about a couple arguing in the context of money


Lead-in (3-4 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Show Ss a picture on the w/b and let them predict what they think the relationship between the two people is (husband / wife or boyfriend / girlfriend) and what they're doing. Ask for FB but don't say if they're correct.

Exposure (4-5 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

Set task before Listening #1: check your prediction and understand what they're talking about. After the listening, allow time for peer-check. FB in w/c nominating Ss.

Highlighting (6-7 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

Give instructions: "in pairs, read the conversation and fill in the gaps with the past simple or present perfect of the verbs in brackets". Elicit examples of present perfect and past simple. Give photocopies. Monitor but don't intervene unless they're stuck. Try to understand what they know of the TL. Ss listen and check their answers. Now they complete the exercise with the 3 rules about present perfect and past simple. Answers check in w/c.

Clarification (12-14 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

1. Give instructions about handout #2. Set time limit (5 min). Ss, in pairs or small groups, focus on meaning and form of PP and PS through a guided discovery worksheet. Monitor and prompt. 2. Use PPT presentation for w/c FB, check understanding by asking CCQs. "I've bought a new computer" Am I talking about the past? (yes); am I saying when the action happened? (no). Which tense is this? (present perfect). "I bought a new computer last Saturday". Am I talking about the past? (yes); am I saying when the action happened? (yes). Which tense is this? (past simple). 3. ELICIT form of PP and PS on the board. 4. Then get FB on the rest of the worksheet. 5. Model and drill pronunciation of some sentences on the board (highlighting linking, sentence stress, intonation)

Controlled Practice (5-6 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Give instructions, then handout material for controlled practice. Ss complete the ex. individually, then peer-check. Show answer key on the w/b.

Free Practice (speaking) (9-10 minutes) • To provide students with free speaking practice of the target language

Give instructions about mingle activity. Elicit the tenses of the questions. Give a demo. While Ss carry out the mingle activity, monitor and prompt, take notes on their output. Language FB in w/c

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