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All Ears English Podcast

Sep 23, 2014

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Talking about your past, should you say did or have done?

Today, in #9 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series, we’ll be discussing how to handle past experiences and accomplishments in English!

If somebody says, “I have done that,” how is it different from saying “I did that?”  The difference can seem tricky but the key is the context.


Here is a simple way to think about this:

  • When using have done, you are zooming out, outside of yourself and to a big picture.  You might be talking about your entire lifetime, or the distant past.
  • When using did, you are zooming in to something more recent and maybe more simple.  You may also be talking about a specific time period that is now over.


Here are some more examples:

  • “I did go to Paris last week.”
  • “I didn’t watch any TV yesterday.”
  • “I have been to Paris, but not since childhood.”
  • “I have watched a lot of TV in my lifetime.”


Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:


Tell us some of your experiences or accomplishments in the comments section below!