Present Perfect v Past Simple

When to use Present perfect and when Past Simple.
I’ve been or I was?

• Susan:  I’ve been in hospital for two weeks. • John:  I was in hospital for six weeks.
Present Perfect Past Simple
We use the Present Perfect for a state which has gone on up to the present. (Susan is still in hospital.)
• We’ve lived here for ten years.
We use the Past Simple for a state in the past, in a period which is finished. (John’s stay in hospital is over.)
• We lived there for ten years.

Have you (ever) …? and Did you (ever) …?

Present Perfect Past Simple
We use the Present Perfect for actions in a period of time up to the present.
• This young director has made four films so far.
He has made films means that it is possible he will make more films.
We use the Past Simple for actions in the past, a period which is finished.
• The director made many films in his long career.
He made films means that his career in films is over. He won’t make any more.
 • Have you ever been to Spain? – Yes, once.
• I’ve played badminton before.
• They’ve never had much money.
 • Did Hemingway ever go to Spain? – Yes, he did.
• I played badminton in school.
• They never had much money back then.

Today, this week, etc.

Present Perfect Past Simple
We use today and phrases with this for a period up to the present.
• It hasn’t snowed today.
• Have you seen this week’s magazine?
We use yesterday and phrases with last for a past period.
• It snowed yesterday.
• Did you see last week’s magazine?
But sometimes today etc. can mean a past period. Compare:
 • I haven’t seen Bill today.
(It’s still daytime.)
• Has the post come this morning?
(It’s still this morning.)
 • I didn’t see Judy at school today.
(The school day is over.)
• Did the post come this morning?
(It’s later in the day.)