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Teaching the Present Perfect Simple to ESL Students

Updated on February 26, 2014
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Teaching the Present Perfect to ESL Students

This is a lesson plan designed for students that have never studied the Present Perfect Simple before. Below are explanations of the tense, short exercises and a speaking game.



Getting Started

Draw three columns on the board and leave the Past Simple and the Past Participle ones blank. Choose regular verbs and place them in the Infinitive column. Get the students to fill in the blanks. After they have finished, do the same with the irregular verb column.



Regular Verbs

Infinitive
Past Simple
Past Participle
To Play
Played
Played
To Touch
Touched
Touched
To Watch
Watched
Watched
To Work
Worked
Worked
To Live
Lived
Lived
Leave the Past Simple and Past Participle columns blank and get students to fill them in

Irregular Verbs

Infinitive
Past Simple
Past Participle
To Be
Was/were
Been
To Eat
Ate
Eaten
To Have
Had
Had
To Go
Went
Gone
To Do
Did
Done
Leave the Past Simple and Past Participle Boxes empty and ask students to fill them in

At this stage the students should be aware that the regular verbs are formed just like the regular past simple by adding ‘ed’ and the irregular verbs are all different and need to be learned. There is no need to get into explanations about the difference between the Present Perfect and the Past Simple; they just need to be able to know how to form it. So give them this little exercise to practice:


Insert the Past Participle into these sentences:

  1. Jane has _____________ (touch) a spider.
  2. We haven’t ____________ (watch) the new movie yet.
  3. They have _____________ (walk) to school.
  4. She hasn’t ____________ (do) her homework.
  5. He has ______________ (be) to Disneyland.
  6. You haven’t _____________ (play) well.
  7. She hasn’t ______________ (eat) her burger.
  8. Have they ______________ (live) here long?
  9. Has he _____________ (go) to the shop?
  10. Have you _______________ (have) dinner?



Watch out for the last one. This is a common mistake “Has he dinner?” because “Has he had dinner?” sounds wrong to them.


(Answers at the bottom)

The Present Perfect Simple

Source

How to Form the Present Perfect

 
 
 
 
+
I / You / We / They
have ('ve)
bought a cake
+
She / He / It
has ('s)
bought a cake
-
I / You / We / They
have not (haven't)
bought a cake
-
She / He / It
has not (hasn't)
bought a cake
?
Have
I / You / We / They
bought a cake
?
Has
She / He / It
bought a cake

What Is The Present Perfect and When Do We Use It?

We use this tense to talk about our experiences that started in the past and have a relationship with the present, but when these things happened doesn't matter. For example:

  • I’ve lost my jacket (I don’t have it now)
  • She’s gone to lunch (she is eating lunch now)
  • I was fat, but I’ve lost a lot of weight (I am not fat now)
  • My mother has found a job (she is working now)


We also use the Present Perfect Simple to talk about things that happened very recently. For example:

  • She’s had a baby boy
  • He’s injured his leg playing football
  • They’ve finished their homework
  • You’ve had a shower



Teaching the Present Perfect Through Song

Just, Ever, Never, For and Since

Just – We use ‘just’ to talk about something that happened a short time ago. It is put before the main verb.


Put ‘just’ in the correct position below. For example: “Do you want something to eat?” “No, thanks. I’ve just eaten.”


  1. He has lost the map.
  2. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.
  3. Have you arrived?
  4. She has fallen off the wall.
  5. The train has left.


Ever and Never - We use ‘ever’ in questions to ask ‘in your life’. For example, “Have you ever eaten snails?”


We use ‘never’ to say we have not done something in our lives. For example, “I’ve never been to the USA.”


‘Ever’ and ‘Never’ go before the main verb. ‘Never’ can stand alone as an answer – “No, never.”


Put ‘ever’ and ‘never’ in the correct position:

  1. Peter: Have you ____________ been to London?
  2. John: No, ___________. I have _____________ been to Great Britain. What about you? Have you ____________ visited any other countries?
  3. Peter: Yes, I have been to France, but I have __________ been to Paris.



Need a Past Participle Word Search?

An irregular past partiple word search is a great way to drill the past participles. They are also a great way to keep the students busy if they have finished a test quickly.

Follow the link to my other website: Irregular past participle word search.

For and Since

We use these to describe how long something has been happening.

Think of ‘for’ as the duration of time or the amount of time taken. ‘Since’ is used to refer to a starting point in time.


For - A week, 2 hours, 11 days, 6 months, 20 years, A long time

Since - Last Monday, 1965, November, 2 pm, I was a child


You can use both to say the same thing, but you need to modify the sentence a little. For example:


“I’ve been here since this morning” or “I’ve been here for 4 hours”.

“It has rained since last week” or “It has rained for 7 days”.


Circle the correct word:

  1. I’ve known Sandra for/since I was a child.
  2. They’ve been on holiday for/since 3 days.
  3. I haven’t been to the capital for/since a long time.
  4. I haven’t seen Jack for/since yesterday.
  5. They have walked 12km for/since this morning.

(Answers at the bottom)



Been and Gone

She has gone to the shop – She went but didn’t come back.

She has been to the shop – She went and is now back.



Use These Pictures to Play the Game

Source

Game Time!

This is a fun game the students will love. They will want to play it over and over. First make three copies of the cards that I have included as a photo and deal them out to pairs or groups of students. The aim of the game is to get three of a kind by using the Present Perfect Simple. For example, Team 1 will ask Team 4 “Has Marta eaten lunch?” Team 4 have to answer: “Yes, she has” or “No, she hasn’t.”


Team 4 must hand over as many Marta cards as they have to prevent teams getting their revenge. If there is any cheating, like looking at each others’ cards, you could penalise them by removing a card and giving it to the other team. This is a great game for fluency and pronunciation. And it can be used for many other tenses too.



Other Helpful Hubs for Teachers:

Difference Between the Present Perfect Simple and the Past Simple

Easy to follow explanation of the two tenses, exercises and a fun questionnaire.

How to Motivate your ESL Students

Great activities for adults and young learners t keep them motivated.

Fun Activities for ESL/EFL Students

Have fun in the classroom with these activities.


Answers

Insert the Past Participle into these sentences:

  1. Jane has touched a spider.
  2. We haven’t watched the new movie yet.
  3. They have walked to school.
  4. She hasn’t done her homework.
  5. He has been to Disneyland.
  6. You haven’t played well.
  7. She hasn’t eaten her burger.
  8. Have they lived here long?
  9. Has he gone to the shop?
  10. Have you had dinner?

Put ‘just’ in the correct position:

  1. He has just lost the map.
  2. You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.
  3. Have you just arrived?
  4. She has just fallen off the wall.
  5. The train has just left.

Put ‘ever’ and ‘never’ in the correct position:

  1. Peter: Have you ever been to London?
  2. John: No, I haven't. I have never been to Great Britain. What about you? Have you ever visited any other countries?
  3. Peter: Yes, I have been to France, but I have never been to Paris.

Circle the correct word:

  1. I’ve known Sandra since I was a child.
  2. They’ve been on holiday for 3 days.
  3. I haven’t been to the capital for a long time.
  4. I haven’t seen Jack since yesterday.
  5. They have walked 12km since this morning.

© 2013 Muttface

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    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 5 months ago from Mumbai, India

      Great one!