"Het meisje heeft vier maanden geleden met een schaap gespeeld."
Translation:The girl played with a sheep four months ago.
In Dutch it doesn't really matter. Sometimes the simple past is more natural, other times the present perfect (or past perfect). :)
'Unlike in Dutch, it is not possible in English to use the present perfect together with "four months ago".'
This is news to me. Is this a British English thing?
I don't think it's a British English thing. I'm from the US and using the present perfect here sounds very unnatural.
Check out this page: http://www.edufind.com/english-grammar/simple-past-tense/
"You always use the simple past when you say when something happened"
In the sentence above, "four months ago" is the point in time in the past at which the event happened.
If we left out "four months ago", both "The girl has played with a sheep." and "The girl played with a sheep." would be perfectly acceptable.
Hmm, strange. I looked at a couple (supposedly) Canadian English grammar pages, and it looks like present perfect is used when talking about something that happened in the past and is still going on, but not something that only happened in a specific time in the past.
So you could say 'The girl has played with a sheep every week since four months ago' but I guess not, 'The girl has played with a sheep four months ago.'
I guess I'm going to really like Dutch. Lots of it feels natural to me already. :)