The difference between the words BEEN and GONE is a nice example of how closely grammar and vocabulary are connected. Usually, when you use a grammar rule wrongly, the meaning does not change. However, in this case, the wrong usage changes the meaning of the sentence completely.
To help you explain this grammar to your students, in this post there is an infographic and an interactive video. The infographic tries to explain the grammar in a simple visual way. The video offers the explanation and there are two exercises. Your students can practise the grammar, too, as there are always gaps when the students can say their answers to the questions.
BEEN or GONE – infographic
The following infographic explains the usage of the words BEEN and GONE in the present perfect tense.
As you can see in the infographic, the form HAVE BEEN is used when we want to say that the person is back at home, but they were somewhere before. We use the form HAVE GONE if the person went away and has not returned yet.
BEEN or GONE – video
To make the explanation clearer and more interesting, I created the following video.
The video is interactive. It has been recorded in such a way, that your students can answer most of the tasks themselves. When the speaker asks a question, there is always a gap that is seven seconds long. In this pause, students can answer the questions. They hear the correct answer then. This is a great feedback for them as they can see whether they answered correctly or not.
You can learn more about the present perfect tense at British Council website.
Another useful website explaining the difference between the words BEEN and GONE is the BBC learning English website.
The present perfect tense is one of the most difficult tenses for learners of English. It is not easy to form the tense correctly as you need the verb HAVE or HAS and the past participle. Moreover, the usage is very specific and many students feel that they could do with the past simple tense only. Thus teaching this tense is not easy.
In this post I do not aim to explain anything about the present perfect tense. Here, I would like to share a set of activities to help you teach this tense. You will find here two speaking activities and a worksheet with five more activities to help your students master the present perfect tense.
Present perfect tense – speaking activities
The following worksheet contains two speaking activities. I have tried both of them in my classes and they worked very well.
The first activity is a very simple one. It should be used if your students know just how to form the present perfect tense and you want to practise it with them. Print the first exercise and cut it in the middle. The students have to write whether they HAVE or HAVE NOT done the activities in the pictures. (Check that the students form the tense correctly).
Then students work in pairs and read their sentences to their partners. They listen and tick the activities their partner has done.
In the last phase students write the sentences about their partner.
The second activity is called Clock speaking. I has been very successful in my classes and it always leads to a lot of speaking in English.
Print the second page of the worksheet and hand it out. In the first part students have to arrange a partner for each time. Set the following rules:
- You may have only one person for each time.
- Write the name of your partner next to the time.
- You cannot have the same person on the paper twice.
Do not worry about the chaos. In the end there will be some people who will not have a partner for one or two of the times. Elicit the times and pair the students yourself.
Then call out one of the times. The students find their partner for the time and ask the questions for the given time. They ask the questions in italics only if their partner answers yes to the first question (emphasize this). After a couple of minutes call another time.
Present perfect tense – worksheet
The following worksheet contains 5 activities. They are based on the verbs contained in the fifth Unit of the textbook Project 3 (third edition) by Oxford University Press. The activities are in random order and you can order them in any way you like.
The first activity is a crossword. Students should fill in the past participle of the verbs.
The second activity is a gap fill. Students should choose the correct option for each sentence.
In the third activity students should fill in HAVE or HAS.
In the fourth activity students have to write the past participle of each verb.
In the fifth activity students have to complete the text either with the present perfect tense or the past simple tense.
Present perfect tense – links
If you need a mind map and a video, you will find them at Present perfect post.
If you decide to teach the activities above, certainly start with the following song.
Students make a lot of mistakes in present perfect tense. I have tried to collect the most typical ones and I have put them into a mind map and tried to explain the rules there. Moreover, I have added two games to give the students a chance to practice the grammar one more time.
To be able to form the present perfect tense correctly, it is necessary to know the past participles. Students can learn the past participles in the following posts:
Common mistakes – Mind map
I have collected the following mistakes my students make:
In the first bubble there is the wrong sentence, then there is the correct sentence and at the end of each branch there is the explanation.
For teaching purposes it might be a good idea to leave the end of the branch empty and ask the students to come up with their own explanation. You can find the mind map here:
Common mistakes – Games
All the mistakes can be divided into three categories:
- bad knowledge of the past participles
- Not using has
- wrong subject in the answers.
If you feel that you have problems with the past participles I recommend the following video:
If you need more practise of past participles and irregular verbs go to Irregular verbs straightforward and Irregular verbs straightforward#2.
To deal with problems 2 and 3 I have prepared two games. The first one is an HTML5 quiz and your task is to answer the tasks correctly. At the end there is a game as a reward for your effort.
The second game is more game like, but it is in Flash and it will work only on your desktop. It is called On Target and your task is to answer the questions and then shoot the bad ducks.
By now you should know the grammar well.
Common mistakes – Share
If you would like to use the games in a classroom with no internet connection you can download the following files. You can share these games on your website too.
We usually present just one tense to students. However, ever since I was a student I have always wanted to see a more complex picture and get more tenses at the same time. And as we have just finished the whole textbook with one of my elementary students an opportunity presented itself to sum up all the five tenses covered in the textbook. As a result, I created a special timeline which in combination with my explanation helped my student clarify the usage of all the tenses. I hope it will work for you too.
Five tenses – timeline
Have a look at the timeline below and read the explanation carefully.
Five tenses – explanation
At the top of the mind map there is the blue Present simple tense. It is high above the timeline as the tense is used for things that are time neutral. We use this tense for facts and actions that get repeated regularly.
The pink shape belongs to past simple tense. There are three arrows pointing to different points in the past as the tense is used when we speak about finished events in the past.
The light blue is reserved for BE going to which is used for plans in the future (for elementary students I do not mind saying that it is the future tense 🙂 ).
The orange colour is for present continuous and the arrow points at NOW as the tense is used for speaking about the events happening at the moment of speaking (again, it is very simplified but for elementary students fine).
The yellow colour shows the usage of present perfect. It is used for past actions which are somehow connected with the present moment. Most frequently we use it to speak about experience (you say what you have experienced up to now).
Five tenses – Form
If you need to practise the form of the tenses there are great posts at our site which show all the details:
You can find a nice explanation of present simple and continuous on BBC pages.
Five tenses – Quizzes
The following quiz is in HTML5. It contains 30 items and you can attempt it anywhere on your mobile phone or desktop. Your task is to put the verbs in the brackets into the correct tense (choose one of the tenses presented here). If you get over 70% of the answers correct, you can play the game Math pop. Enjoy!
You can find more exercises to practise these five tenses at https://engames.eu/five-tenses-exercises/
For and since are often given as the key words which signal that present perfect tense should be used. It is not 100% true but it makes life easier for elementary and lower intermediate students.
However, sometimes it is difficult for learners to know which word they should use. The rule is simple. FOR is used when we give the length of the time (for three days) and since is used when we give the beginning of the time (since Monday). You can see the graphical explanation of this rule below.
In this post you can find an interactive video, where the grammar is explained and tested by the experts from BBC learning English.com, a mind map explaining the difference between FOR and SINCE graphically and a quiz with a game to practise the correct usage of the words For and SINCE.
FOR and SINCE – interactive video
Play the following video and answer the questions. If you succeed, you can play the game Highway race.
FOR and SINCE – mind map
In the mind map there is the graphical explanation of the usage of the words FOR and SINCE.
FOR and SINCE – games
There are two games for you.
FOR and SINCE – quiz
There are 22 items in this quiz. If you answer more than 60% of all the questions correct (that is not so difficult) you can play the game called Rock, Paper and Scissors. In this game you win if you give a Rock and your opponent scissors, you give a paper and your opponent gives rock and finally, you win if you give scissors and your opponent gives a paper.
SINCE and FOR – fling the teacher game
This game is slightly more difficult as you mustn’t make a mistake to win. You have to answer all the questions correctly to build the machine and fire your teacher 🙂 You can use up to three helps which are displayed on the screen.
There have been many different attempts to explain the difference between the past simple and present perfect tenses to learners of English. I have tried to do this for example in my posts on present perfect basics, Present perfect tense vs Past simple or present perfect infographics.
In the textbook New Inside Out pre-intermediate they try to introduce the concept of “finished” and “up to now” time expressions. I think, it is not a bad way to distinguish between the past simple and present perfect tenses.
According to the textbook, finished times are a the expressions which refer to a period or moments that finished in the past and are not connected to the present (for example, yesterday finished several hours ago and this is not connected to now). On the other hand, up to now time expressions refer to periods which are somehow connected to the present time (for example, today is still going on till this moment).
Then the theory is quite simple. If you use a time expression for finished time, use past simple tense. If you use a time expression for up to now time, use present perfect tense.
Present perfect tense – a mind map
Here you can see the mind map which explains the differences between finished times and up to now times.
The finished times are just the points on the timeline. On the other hand, the up to now times are connected to the present moment.
Present perfect tense – games
In the first activity your task is to divide the times into two categories. On the first slide tick all the expressions for finished times and on the second tick all the expressions for up to now times. If you are successful you will get an opportunity to play the game Hot race.
In the second game your task is to choose the correct option and then if you are successful you should shoot all the bad ducks.
English Learning Magazine
Some time ago I presented here an infographics on present perfect tense. This infographic contains a lot of interesting information but when I tried to teach the present perfect tense using it, I found out that I failed. That is why I have prepared this new one where I try to introduce the form and the basic usage of the present perfect tense.
To teach the grammar successfully though the students have to know the past participles. You can learn present past participles here. There is mind map and three games to learn 40 of them.
Present perfect tense – mindmap
This mind map shows the form of present perfect tense and the basic usage.
Present perfect tense – RAP
We have used a rap before to explain the grammar. You can see the explanation of the present simple and present continuous tenses here and the rap presentation of past participles here.
Play this rap after reading the graphics above and it should help you memorise the form and the usage of the grammar.
Present perfect tense – practise
And now it is time to practise the grammar. Try the following video. Watch and use the words on the screen to make a sentence in the present perfect tense.
You can play other games for example here in our post Present perfect basic.
I hope this post helped you understand the usage and form of the present perfect tense better. You can find more grammar posts on our blog. For example, there is a post on Second conditional or creation of questions starting with HOW. Enjoy.