Present perfect vs past perfect is difficult to understand at times. The most common question that I get is, “What is the difference?”
Look at past perfect
Past perfect focuses on events that finished in the past. These events do not continue until now.
- e.g. I had watched my favourite movie ten times before the DVD stopped working.
In the example above, both of the events started and finished in the past. The person watched the DVD ten times. After that, the DVD stopped working. Remember that when you use the past perfect you are trying to relate two events together in the past. Past perfect indicates which event happened first in time. In a timeline you would see past perfect then past.
Let’s look at the present perfect
Present perfect normally has some connection or relevance to the present.
- e.g. I have watched my favourite movie many times, and my DVD is still working.
Present perfect vs past perfect Summary
Here is a present perfect vs past perfect chart that will help summarize the information.
|Present perfect||Past perfect|
|Used to talk about something that started in the past and continues until now.e.g. I have worked for Ford for ten years.
Used to talk about events that finished in the past but have relevance now.
e.g. I have seen Avatar.
|Used to talk about something that started and finished in the past. There is no connection with right now.e.g. I had seen the first Star Wars movie three times before the second movie came out.
If you are looking for some practice in either of these tenses, check out englishpage.com.
Do you have any confusing examples that you would like clarified? Leave a comment below with your example.