Past Simple vs. Present Perfect

Present Perfect


I HAVE spokEN
("_ed" ending or 3rd column of the irregular verb list).
Negative: I HAVEN'T spoken (short for HAVE NOT).
Question: HAVE you spoken?
It's used for actions you've EVER done in your life. We don't say WHEN exactly we did them.

It usually comes with the following adverbs:
Never, for, already, not yet, since, twice, many times, until now ...

Also commonly used for breaking news or making announcements.


Past Simple


I spoke
("_ed" ending or 2rd column of the irregular verb list).
Negative: I DIDN'T speak (short for DID NOT, main verb is infinitive -1st column-).
Question: DID you speak?

It's used for actions you did once in the past, often saying WHEN you did them.

It usually comes with the following adverbs:
This morning, yesterday, last + night/week/month/summer/year, ...
In + any period of time in the past: In January, in 2010, in the 90s, ...

Also commonly used in relative clauses (= small phrase within a longer sentence).

Examples

I told you last time we met (WHEN?:  last time we met).
I'VE told you many times (not saying exactly WHEN).

She lived in India in the 90s (WHEN?:  in the 90s).
She'S lived in India since the 90s (saying HOW LONG but not WHEN).

Exercise on Present Perfect and Past Simple