Mar 24, 2012

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


Unknown said...

Excellent piece!!
I'd never heard about it, and it is indeed great to practice present perfect and simple past, and to foster further discussion on the topic of penfriends.
Thanks a lot for your hard work!

Unknown said...

The link is unavailable

Claudio Azevedo said...

Which link exactly? I just tried the worksheet, the video and the video link and everything seems to be fine.

Cristina (Spain) said...

Hi Claudio!
Thanks so much for the great job you're doing with this blog! I'm a teacher myself and am delighted to see how many things we can teach through movie segments. I tried to download the video, like Bruna, but I can't (the format or file doesn't seem to work... and I can't find that segment on youtube, either)
I'll sure use your material in class and acknowledge you for that, of course ;-)

Claudio Azevedo said...

Dear Cristina,
I don't know what might be happening. I have just reuploaded the segment to the wiki. Can you try it, please? The video was not place on youtube, just in the blog. Some of the segments are on youtube, but they were not uploaded by me.

Cristina I. Sánchez Soto said...

Dear Claudio,

thanks for trying to make things work. We all know how whimsical technology can be sometimes ;-) I redirected my students to your blog from mine. This way, they'll be able to do more exercises and enjoy more movie segments!

Teacher Airan said...

Dear Claudio,

I tried to uploaded this segment to youtube with the caption (I looked for and had an enormous effort to insert the captions), but it is impossible to upload.. I tried to send my students the video with the caption, but they couldn't open it...

Can you authorize me to upload it in youtube? Who is Gaumont?

Claudio Azevedo said...

Sure you can upload them to youtube. The segments do not belong to me, but to Hollywood film making companies. That's why they usually withdraw them from youtube. So, I upload them directly to my wiki. I don't know who Gaument is.

F.L. Lim said...

It would be perfect if there was subtitle. Anyway.. it's an excellent job!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...


I really loved this activity, but I had the same problem as Christina, I cannot download the video and when I try to download it redirects me to a player and it's nowhere to be found in the wiki files, and the video is not even played. I think it must be the format, but I'm not sure.

Claudio Azevedo said...

Dear Agustin,
The video format is mp4. It can be viewed with VLC player. Here is the link for free download

Have you tried oprening it with with VLC? The link to the video download is working and it directs me to my wiki. I have done it now in 3 different computers. Let me see if you have managed.

Unknown said...

hi claudio
I was finally able to download the video but i still have the same problem. When i tried to download from the link, when i pressed the download link there, it wouldn't download. it just opened a video player and the file didn't start. What i had to do is browse the wiki and find the file there, and it was possible to download from there only. The link is working but in the wiki it doesn't allow me to download.
And about the player, it works well. Thanks for your work. It's really useful.

xístha said...

Hi Claudio,
honestly I'm speechless!
all I can say really is: Thanks and Congratulations!

Claudio Azevedo said...

Thanks!Come back often.

Priscila Jodas said...

Hello! I loved the activity! But I coundnt download the video. The link only downloads another video segment.

Claudio Azevedo said...

It has been fixed, Pricilla.

Юлия said...

Hello! Greeeeaaaaattttt job! You are incredible. I try to promote you everytime I have a webinar in Grammar or online resources.

Claudio Azevedo said...

Thanks, Yulia
I'm glad to hear that. Come back often.