Difference between the Simple Past Tense and Simple Present Tense
How is the meaning different?The simple present tense is used to describe habits, general facts, and persent situations, whereas the simple past tense is used to speak about events in the past.
- Simple Present Tense: He practices badminton every day.
- Simple Past Tense: He won the competition.
Difference between the Simple Past Tense and the Simple Present Tense
Let us look at the differences between the simple past and the simple present tense in the given table:
|Simple Present Tense||Simple Past Tense|
|Activity||Repeated actions or daily activity.||The action is finished in the past and not linked with the present.|
|What are these sentences about?||Sentences about the present situations or events.||Sentences tell us about a series of completed actions in the past or scheduled events.|
|Auxilaries||Helping verbs that are used are: ‘is’, ‘am’, and ‘are’.||Helping verbs like ‘was’, and ‘were’ are used.|
|Question start with the auxilary||The auxiliary verb ‘do’ or ‘does’used for present simple questions.||Auxiliary verb ‘did’ is used for simple past questions.|
|Words found in the sentence||Words like often, every day, always, sometimes, never used.||Words like last week , last year, last month , yesterday, ago in (year) are used .|
|Negative question statements||Auxiliary verbs ‘do’ and ‘does’ used in negative sentences.||Auxiliary verb ‘did’ used in negative sentences.|
|Main verb||The main verb is always in the present participle form.||Auxiliary verb ‘did’ used in negative sentences.|
|No.||Simple Present Tense||Simple Past Tense|
|1.||I go to school every day.||I went to school yesterday.|
|2.||He doesn’t play cricket.||Our team won the cricket match.|
|3.||Do you go to college often?||Did you go to college yesterday?|
|4.||She is a professor.||She was a professor.|
|5.||He sings well.||He cleaned the room.|
|6.||I don’t read non-fiction books.||I didn’t wash the clothes.|
|7.||She doesn't wash her clothes.||I went there yesterday.|
- Do not confuse the adverbs of time with simple past tense. The simple present tense is used with adverbs like usually, always, seldom, sometimes, never, often, generally, frequently, habitually, once, occasionally, thrice, and twice.
- I drink a cup of warm water every morning.
- My mother never lies to me.
- I usually spend my weekends with family.
- Praveen went to Darjeeling yesterday.
- Manjith flew to the United Kingdom in 2001.
- She was here till few hours ago.
- In story writing, ensure to keep the tense same throughout the story, except while writing dialogues. If the story starts in the past tense, maintain the flow in the past tense.
The simple past tense is used with the adverbs like yesterday, years, months, weeks, days, hours ago, in the past year, and the last (month, week, year).
If you are following a present-tense narrative, ensure not to go into the past tense. It must be the same, or else the readers will be confused.