Past and present importance

Indonesia and Australia have concluded their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) in August 2018.

Sometimes past events, although finished, are somehow important in the present, and we can communicate this importance using present perfect tense, often in conjunction with related time expressions.

Finished time with past importance

August 2018 is past and finished. If you want to focus on a past and finished event in English then you need to use past simple tense:

  • Indonesia and Australia concluded their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) in August 2018.

Finished time with present importance

If, on the other hand, the exact time of the event is less important than the consequences or the effects of the event in the present, then use present perfect to focus on this ‘present importance’, either with a present perfect time expression..

  • Indonesia and Australia have recently concluded their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).

..or without a present perfect time expression:

  • Indonesia and Australia have concluded their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).

Notice that with present importance we are often less interested in exactly when something happened, or how many times it happened. We’re more interested in the influence if the event(s) NOW.


Select words from the drop-down menus to complete the text. When you have finished, click 'Check your answers!' for feedback.

OK I understand

I to the cinema twice in recent weeks. A week ago I First Man, which is a biographical film about Neil Armstrong – the first man on the moon. Over the years I a lot about Neil Armstrong, and so naturally I curious to see the film version. And then last night I Venom, which is a film for teenagers.

Answer Key

Answers here, but only if you're really stuck!


The featured image for this post shows Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia. If you can make a sentence about this place using present perfect tense and a matching time expression, enter it as a comment below!

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