Present Perfect and Simple Past- Small Talk


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Lesson Plan Content:

Small Talk with the Present Perfect and Simple Past

Roleplay meeting each other on a Wednesday in the underground (= subway) and
chatting until one of you gets out at your stop five minutes later. Ask each other
“How was
your weekend?”
and “How has your week been?” plus follow up questions to extend
the conversation.

Which combination of questions would really be suitable for use today?
A: “How was your week?” and “How has your weekend been?”
B: “How has your week been?” and “How was your weekend?”

What two tenses are the questions above? Why are those two tenses used? What are the
differences between them?

Fill the table below, including the questions above:

Name of tense

Present Perfect

Past Simple (“Simple” meaning

just one verb, like Present



sentence (e.g.

from above)

Structure (“… +

…”, like “am/ is/

are + v +ing” for








with that tense

on Saturday

Written by Alex Case for © 2015

Fit these things into the table above:

verb + ed or irregular versions (“did”, “ate”, etc)

has/ have + PP (= past participle such as “done”)

connected to the past and the present, for example an unfinished time or present
consequence of a past action

not connected to the present, so completely in the past

last weekend

this week

Do the same with these other time expressions:


at 7 a.m. today

the day before yesterday
three days ago

last Wednesday

on Friday
a week ago
last week

this month

in the last month (= since this time last month)

last month

this year

last year

in 2010

since 2009

in the last decade or so

in the 17




Hint: seven of the expressions above go with Present Perfect and the other 12 go with Simple Past.

Try to think of the expressions which mean the same thing as the ones in italics above.

What’s the difference in meaning between “last year” and “in the last year” (= “in the last
twelve months”)?

Which one means each of these things?

(From January to December) 2014


From February 2014 until now

What times would these things cover (precisely)?

In the last week/ Last week


Last century/ In the last century


Yesterday/ In the last day

Written by Alex Case for © 2015

Choose one of the questions below and ask a grammatically correct version of it to your
partner. All the questions need “
you”. If there is no wh- question word, you need to make a
yes/ no question. Ask follow questions if you like, then they will ask you similar questions.
In some cases, you’ll need to imagine you are in a different situation to be able to answer
the questions, e.g. that you haven’t seen your partner for one or two years.

Probably realistic questions

When ______________________________________________ (start) your present job?
How long ___________________________________________ (have) your present job?
What time ___________________________________________ (finish) work last night?
Where ______________________________________ (last go) on holiday (= vacation)?
_________________________________________ (ever go) on a business trip abroad?
___________________________________________________________ (ever met)…?
That’s a nice… Where ______________________________________________ (buy) it?
______________________________________________________ (be) busy this week?
______________________________________ (have) many meetings today/ this week?
___________________________________________________ (have) a good weekend?

Possibly realistic questions

____________________________ (see) the game between… and … at the weekend?
_____________________________________ (go) to the meeting about… yesterday?
_____________________________________________ (go) to the meeting about…?
____________________________________________________ (change) your hair?
______________________________________________________ (nearly finish)…?
_______________________________________ (have) the chance to… today/ this week?

Imaginary situations

_____________________________________ (have) any trouble/ problems finding us?
________________________________________________________(come) far today?
______________________________________ (have) a good flight/ journey/ holiday/ trip?
Who ___________________________________________________________(fly) with?
When ___________________________________________________ (arrive) in Tokyo?
Long time no see. How _______________________________________________ (be)?
Long time no see. How long ___________________________________________(be)?
When _________________________________________________ (get back) from…?

Fill the gaps above with the correct tenses and “you”.

Check your answers as a class, then write similar small talk questions.

Written by Alex Case for © 2015

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