Friday, March 23

Mary and Max: Present Perfect x Simple Past

This is a marvelous Australian animated movie for adults. A bit sad, though. It is about two very unlikely pen pals. There are several scenes for grammar practice. This one is perfect to contrast the use of the simple past and the present perfect tenses.

A. Read the sentences taken from a letter Max is writing Mary and try to guess whether you should complete the blanks with the simple past or the present perfect tenses of the given verbs.

1. I ____________ (choose) the same numbers for nine years. 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12.

2. I _____________ (have) many different jobs during my life.

3. My first job ______ (be) collecting subway tokens in the subway.

4. I __________ (work) at the frisbee printing machine in my third job.

5. In my fourth job, I _____________ (get - neg) paid much but ________ (get) free cookies and coffee.

6. _____________ (you - ever - be) hang gliding?

7. _____________ (you - ever - be) a communist?

8. _____________ (you - ever - be) attacked by a crow or a similar large bird. When I __________ (be) nine, a crow _________ (attack) me on my way to school.

9. I _________________ (teach) myself to read two pages at once.

10. I have to go now. I __________ (tell - neg) you about my 7th job, in a condom factory.

11. I _______________ (eat - never) sweetened condensed milk.

12. I ________________ ( use - never) a condom.

B. Watch the movie segment and check your answers.

C. Work in pairs.

1. Have you ever had a pen pal? Why (not)?

2. Is it a good idea to have pen pals? Explain it.

3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having pen pals?

4. Do pen pals have to like the same things? Why (not)?

5. Are pen pals real friends? Or it just a fantasy?



Answer key:


1. have chosen 2. have had 3. was 4. worked 5. didn't get / got 6. have you ever been 7. have you ever been 8. have you ever been / was / attacked 9. have taught 10. haven't told 11. have never eaten 12. have never used