Present Perfect and Past Simple Compared: Conversational vs narrative past

We can use Past Simple when narrating stories. That’s why we can refer to it as “narrative past“.

One of the ways we can think of Present Perfect Tense is “Conversational Past Tense”. The Past Simple Tense could be referred to as “Narrative Past Tense.”

It means that we may use the Present Perfect to talk about recent completed events in a conversation.

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We can use Past Simple too, if talking about very recent past

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Refer to very recent actions in lesson Present Perfect: Recent action in course Present Perfect Tense

To narrate stories, tales etc, that had events within the finished period of time in the past, we use Past Simple. We can also use other tense forms but not the Present Perfect. Weather we specify the finished period of time explicitly or implicitly, we don’t choose the Present Perfect.

The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords.

In a nutshell

We use Present Perfect in a conversation, not in a story (direct speech is an exception).

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