Describing experiences

People travel for different purposes; some for business and as part of their job they spend a lot of time in airports or bus stations. Other people travel to go on vacations. Some like to relax and do nothing, while others prefer to be active and for instance swim, go to museums, and explore cities and towns. Also many people travel to visit their family who live in another place. Have you ever traveled?

Learning more vocabulary is important because it helps you to express your ideas. Let’s continue learning new vocabulary related to travel, vacation activities and food.


Food around the world

People around the world have different ideas about eating. Traveling offers the opportunity to taste many different traditional dishes around your country, or around the world. Food preferences could be based on culture, taste or food available in each region.

Have you ever eaten some of the food and drinks that are shown below?

Food and drinks from different places in Mexico

  • Beans
  • Tacos
  • Pozole
  • Chiles en nogada
  • Tequila
  • Horchata´s water
  • Jamaica´s water
  • Chocolate

Common food and drinks from United States


The simple past

You have already learned the simple past in your last English course. The simple past tense is used to express an action that started and finished at a specific time in the past.


  • I went to cinema yesterday.
  • I traveled to Monterrey last week.
  • She washed the dishes this morning.

As you know, the simple past is formed by adding -ed to the infinitive form of the regular verbs.

For regular verbs ending in the vowel–e, you only add–d.

Remember that irregular verbs change their spelling.

Time expressions

Simple past use time expressions such as these:

  • Yesterday
  • This morning
  • Last year
  • Last weekend
  • In 2010
  • In the 1990s
  • In the past
  • The other day
  • Last Friday
  • Last month, etc.

Past participle

The main use for the past participle in English is forming the perfect tenses. In this block you will learn the past participle that will be important when forming the present perfect tense.

The past participle is mainly used to form the present perfect and past perfect tenses. Furthermore, it is used when speaking in passive voice.

The past participle similary the simple past is formed by adding ed or d to regular verbs, for example: play-played, dance-danced. In the case of irregular verbs, the verb changes its spelling example: be-been, go-gone, do-done.

Look at the examples:

For more reference, at the end of your book you will find a list with some regular and irregular verbs in present simple, simple past and past participle.

Present perfect

The present perfect is a compound tense, two verbs are required: the auxiliary verb to have in present simple tense and the main verb in past participle.

Look at the following examples:

The present perfect is used to express a past event that has present consequences:

  • I have been married for 10 years.
  • I have been studying English for 2 years.

In both sentences the action started in the past and continues in the present.

Present perfect forms and uses

Affirmative form:

Negative form:

Interrogative form:


You use the present perfect with time expressions: since, for, never, ever, already, yet.

1. Activities that started in the past and continue in the present; for and since are common with this use.


for: indicates a period of time.

  • We have learned English for 3 years.

since: indicates a point in time when action started.

  • We have learned English since 2011.

2. Describing experiences.

Ever and never are common with this use.


  • Use ever in a question.
    Have you ever been in Puerto Vallarta?
  • Use never in a negative response.
    I never have been in Puerto Vallarta.

3. Saying that actions that we expected they happen didn´t occur. We are still waiting for the action to happen.

  • James hasn´t sold his car yet.

4. Expressing that an activity has happened sooner than expected.


  • I have already done my homework (earlier than expected).

5. Expressing that an activity has happened a few moments ago.


  • I just had dinner (I have dinner a few moments ago).

Present perfect with how long and for/since

Remember that the present perfect is used to talk about an action started in the past and continues in the present. You can use the present perfect to talk about your life experiences: how long have you (done something)?

Look at the structure: How long have you known your best friend?

Look at the following examples:

  • How long have you been in hospital?
    I have been in hospital since Wednesday
  • How long have you studied English?
    I have been studied English for 2 years.
  • How long have you had this car?
    I have had the same car for 5 years.

Fuente: Secretaría de Educación Pública. (2015). Lengua adicional al español IV. Ciudad de México.