5 minute Grammar: Present Perfect Simple

5 minute Grammar: Present Perfect Simple

Welcome to 5 minute grammar

Most learners find the concept of the Present Perfect difficult to grasp. It is a particularly of the English language which takes a bit of time to get used to.

It is formed by the the auxiliary “have” plus the past participle of the verb you want to use.

Listen as we explain the main principles of how to use this tense and the examples we cite.

Before listening, take the time to think about these examples which you’ll hear in the podcast:

I have lived in Toulouse for 30 years (I still live here). Write your own example……………..

I have worked for the company for 30 years (I still work for the same company ). Write your own example…………

For a question: Have you ever been to China? (We are asking about your life experiences up to the present time). Write your own example…..

A possible answer: I have never been to China (I’m talking about my experiences up to the present time).  Write your own example …………

The weather has been warm recently (this is a recent action). Write your own example of a recent action……..

Language is What Makes Humans Unique Now take a moment to think about this example before listening:

I have learned a lot (present perfect simple) since I started (past simple) studying Spanish. Why is this ?



Go one step further and check your understanding with this quick quiz

Present Perfect Simple Quiz



Grammar brush up: Short answers

Grammar brush up: Short answers

You’ve surely found the way English people speak a bit confusing, haven’t you ? 🙂

Welcome to a brush up exercise on short answers. This style of speaking is typical of natural English and it can be a bit mind boggling for learners. 

Also it’s a great way to revise  auxiliary verbs, which will help you formulate tag questions too.

Take a listen and see if you can answer as quickly as Chris. 


  1. Listen several times.
  2. Write down the conversation, underline the auxiliary verb in the first sentence.
  3. Write down your answer.
  4. Listen again and answer quickly

For a little help you can watch this short clip from our Instagram account, and if you like it you can follow our posts on english.podcasts



We all know what a verb is, but what’s a phrasal verb ?

Well, it’s a verb with a particle, that can be a proposition or an adverb. For example, LOOK FOR, LOOK INTO, LOOK UP.

Phrasal verbs are everywhere in English, we use them hundreds of times a day but they are not always easy for learners to understand because the addition of the particle changes the meaning of the original verb completely.

Sometimes when the particle refers to a movement, the phrasal verb is easy to understand. For example, to look AROUND means to turn and look around you, but in many cases the addition of the particle can make no logical sense at all.

In this podcast we looked at the verb TAKE and added different particles to come up with many new words.

Before listening try this quiz to see how you do and then do the quiz again after listening to check your understanding. Not every verb will be useful to you so we recommend that you learn what’s important and useful to you, but keep your ears open to other phrasal verbs you may hear in conversation. 

In this podcast we mention many other phrasal verbs with the preposition UP, you can go to the Grammar section to test your comprehension of our examples. 

The or no The

The or no The

For many learners using, or not using, “the” is a bit hit and miss !

There are some guidelines but to be honest the rules are not that clear ……. so you need some practice.

As a general rule we use “the” when we talk about a specific noun and no “the” when we are talking in general. The examples in the quiz will highlight this.

Also remember that countries do not generally have “the” in front of them except when the country is a plural noun. So watch out for “The United States” but America. Again you will see examples in the quiz.

We start the quiz with some easy questions and get more and more complex. 

  Do the quiz once to get the idea and then do it again and time yourself to go quicker and quicker.

Go for it !

THE or no THE ?


Know your nouns, verbs and adjectives

Know your nouns, verbs and adjectives

Knowing your nouns, verbs and adjectives is a key part to learning a new language and especially when taking a timed exam.

Practice your skills with this quick quiz.

 Whenever you learn a new word check out if it has an association noun, verb or adjective. For example: to weigh (verb) , a weight (noun) , heavy or light (adjectives)

Know your nouns and verbs.

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