What is the difference between the Simple Past and the Present Perfect?
The Simple Past and the Present Perfect Simple are often interchangeable.
A person can say: 'I saw this person' or 'I have seen this person' with little difference in meaning. However, if the speaker wishes to add a time expression to the sentence, then he or she has to be more selective in his or her choice.
The Simple Past goes with a precise point in time which limits the action to a finished time: I saw this person yesterday.
The Present Perfect Simple goes with an indefinite time which situates the action as happening inside a period of time which continues up to the present time: I have seen this person before. Notice how the word before could mean anything before now. It could be yesterday or two years ago. It purposely remains ambiguous or indefinite.
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Pêches et Océans Canada