It’s a pain in the neck, yep! We all know about it.
However, we all need to use the present perfect correctly. But how? Well, there are some rules and you must abide by them.
The thing, though, gets funny when you see that native speakers break the rules that you held as sacred. Can they do that? The answer is “yes, they can, and they do break them.”
A. Let’s start with standard British English. In fact, the present perfect can be used with superlative adjectives, such as: the worst, the most boring, the kindest, etc., which in all likelihood you already know about (e.g. That is the nicest compliment I have ever received.)
In American English, strangely enough, the superlatives can often be used with the past simple too. (e.g. That is the worst book I ever read.).
B. In addition, in American English, the adverbs still, yet, already, ever can often be used with the past simple. (e.g. He didn’t buy a new car yet.; I already told him not to call me after 10 p.m.)
Remember though, while the American versions are considered absolutely correct in spoken English, when it comes to English exams, the British English rules are the ones which will help you score high.
So, stick to the standard English rules if you really want to get a high mark.
By Arben (English Teacher)