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Hello,

When I remember correctly present perfect
must be used when I tell something about
what I did the very first time.

Example sentence below, challenge was to
choose either simple past or present perfect.

(go) The first time I ....... to Australia was in 2009.

I understand that usually the simple past should
be used because it happened a year ago but
I thought that present perfect must be used
because it was the first time.

Correct answer the book gave me is simple past.

> The first time I went to Australia was in 2009.

Why?

Thanks

Marc
Comments  
Why?-- Because the 'rule' you have learnt is not a valid one-- or you remember incorrectly. First experience has nothing to do with present perfect. Present perfect has to do with the relationship between past and present. And present perfect does not tolerate the mention of a specific finished past time (like 'in 2009' and 'the first time'). All it will accept, in this situation, is this: I have been to Australia.
Then I remember the rule incorrectly.

Thanks for your answer.

Cheers,
Marc
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Marc2010when I tell something about
what I did the very first time.
You use the present perfect only in certain patterns with first.

This is the first time I have (ever) ...

This is the first time I have ever been in Australia.
This is the first time he has ever done skydiving.
This is the first time they have won so much money.
This is the first time we have ever seen a live giraffe.
Is this the first time you have written a sonnet?

No present perfect with The first time ... was [date]. Those take the past.

The first time I ... was ...

The first time I saw that movie was three years ago.
The first time I talked to her was in 2008.
The first time we went to Chicago was in March of 2006.

CJ
Back online...

Thank you CJ for your examples.

I think I got it now.

Have a nice day.

Regards,
Marc
It has nothing to do with the first time.e don't use the present perfect if we have a point in time in the past or a specific time.For example,don't say

1- I have broken my leg in 2000 * , but I broke my leg in 2000.

2- My sister has had her degree last year* ,but my sister had her degree last year.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
my sister had her degree last year.

"My sister gained her degree last year."

more commonly:

"My sister graduated last year."
Thanks!