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Nível Fluente › Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal 2

REVIEW OF PRESENT PERFECT AND PAST SIMPLE
Dialog: "...
he has taken advantage of reforms to the justice system made by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's government in 2004..."

The present perfect is used to talk about an action that happened at an unspecified time in the past. It's considered a present tense because there is always a connection to the present. There is no focus on when something happened, but rather the result of that action, which is in the present.

  • Jason's gone to South Africa. (he's there now)
  • Do you have another book for me to read? I've already read this one. (result of action: want to read a different book)
  • We've decided to have our wedding at our beach house in Carmel. (no mention of when they decided)

With the present perfect you can talk about quantity of time:

  • John has worked* at that company for 13 years.
  • Angela hasn't lived* in Johannesburg for very long.
  • It's been 2 years since I last returned to the States.

*The present perfect continuous can also be used here.

You can also talk about how many times you've done something:

  • I've asked my daughter 3 times to clean up her room, but she still hasn't done it!
  • Eric hasn't been to China twice; he's been there only once.
  • The Bakers have changed the color of their house numerous times.

The past simple is used to talk about an action that happened at a specific time in the past. Compare these sentences with the present perfect sentences from the first set.

  • Jason went to South Africa two weeks ago.
  • Do you have another book for me to read? I read this one last month.
  • We decided last week to have our wedding at our beach house in Carmel.

 

*NOTE: The difference between the present perfect and the past simple can be confusing. A simple way to understand how they are different is to remember that you never mention when something happened with the present perfect.

 

Sobre esta aula

In part two of our three part series on Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal you get to find out one of the improvements Mr. Mendes has made to the judicial system. And no, we’re not talking about repainting the court room here, but real reforms that are helping to trim the fat off the justices’ workload.

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