PRESENT PERFECT TENSE
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The Meaning of Present Perfect Tense
The present perfect tense is used when talking about experiences from the past, a change or a situation that has happened in the past but is still continuing today.
This tense is used to show a link between the present and past and is commonly used in everyday conversations, in the news, on the radio, and when writing letters.
This tense is an important part of English grammar since it demonstrates that actions or events in the past have an effect on the present situation.
The present perfect tense refers to an action or state that either occurred at an indefinite time in the past (e.g., we have talked before) or began in the past and continued to the present time (e.g., he has grown impatient over the last hour).
This tense is formed by have/has + the past participle.
How do we make the Present Perfect tense?
The structure of the Present Perfect is:
|subject||+||auxiliary have||+||main verb|
|conjugated in Present Simple|
|have, has||past participle|
The auxiliary verb (have) is conjugated in the Present Simple: have, has
The main verb is invariable in past participle form: -ed (or irregular)
For negative sentences we insert not between the auxiliary verb and the main verb.
For question sentences, we exchange the subject and the auxiliary verb.
Look at these example sentences with the Present Perfect tense:
|subject||auxiliary verb||main verb|
Contraction with Present Perfect
When we use the Present Perfect in speaking, we often contract the subject and auxiliary verb. We also sometimes do this in informal writing.
The car has
- You’ve told me that before.
- John’s seen Harry Potter.
In negative sentences, we may contract the auxiliary verb and “not”:
- You haven’t won the contest.
- She hasn’t heard from him.
He’s or he’s??? Be careful! The ‘s contraction is used for the auxiliary verbs have and be. For example, “It’s eaten” can mean:
- It has eaten. (Present Perfect tense, active voice)
- It is eaten. (Present Simple tense, passive voice)
It is usually clear from the context.
How do we use the Present Perfect tense?
This tense is called the Present Perfect tense. There is always a connection with the past and with the present.
We use the Present Perfect to talk about:
- continuing situation
Present Perfect for experience
We often use the Present Perfect to talk about experience from the past. We are not interested in when you did something. We only want to know if you did it:
|I have seen an alien.|
He has lived in Bangkok.
Have you been there?
We have never eaten caviar.
|The action or state was in the past.||In my head, I have a memory now.|
Connection with past: the event was in the past
Connection with present: in my head, now, I have a memory of the event; I know something about the event; I have experience of it
Present Perfect for change
We also use the Present Perfect to talk about a change, or new information:
|I have bought a car.|
|Last week I didn’t have a car.||Now I have a car.|
|John has broken his leg.|
|Yesterday John had a good leg.||Now he has a bad leg.|
|Has the price gone up?|
|Was the price $1.50 yesterday?||Is the price $1.70 today?|
|The police have arrested the killer.|
|Yesterday the killer was free.||Now he is in prison.|
Present Perfect for continuing situation
We often use the Present Perfect to talk about a continuing situation. This is a state that started in the past and continues in the present (and will probably continue into the future). This is a situation (not an action). We usually use for or since with this structure.
|I have worked here since June.|
He has been ill for 2 days.
How long have you known Tara (for)?
|The situation started in the past.||It continues up to now.||(It will probably continue into the future.)|
For and Since with Present Perfect tense
We often use for and since with perfect tenses:
- We use for to talk about a period of time: five minutes, two weeks, six years
- We use since to talk about a point in past time: 9 o’clock, 1st January, Monday
|a period of time||a point in past time|
|– – – – – – – – – – – –||– • – – – – – – – – – –|
|a long time||I left school|
|ever||the beginning of time|
Look at these example sentences using for and since with the Present Perfect tense:
I have been here for twenty minutes.
I have been here since 9 o’clock.
John hasn’t called for six months.
John hasn’t called since February.
He has worked in New York for a long time.
He has worked in New York since he left school.
More Examples about Present Perfect Tense
Actions started in the past and continuing in the present
- They haven't lived here for years.
- She has worked in the bank for five years.
- We have had the same car for ten years.
- Have you played the piano since you were a child?
When the time period referred to has not finished
- I have worked hard this week.
- It has rained a lot this year.
- We haven't seen her today.
Actions repeated in an unspecified period between the past and now.
- They have seen that film six times
- It has happened several times already.
- She has visited them frequently.
- We have eaten at that restaurant many times.
Actions completed in the very recent past (+just)
- Have you just finished work?
- I have just eaten.
- We have just seen her.
- Has he just left?
When the precise time of the action is not important or not known
- Someone has eaten my soup!
- Have you seen 'Gone with the Wind'?
- She's studied Japanese, Russian, and English.
Other Examples of Present Perfect Tense
- I have written articles on different topics.
- He has read various kinds of books.
- They have played football.
- She has taken coffee.
- He has gone to the library.
- We have shopped in this market.
- We have watched movies in this Cineplex.
- You have shopped in that market.
- I have sung different kinds of songs, especially modern.
- I have listened to melodious songs.
- He has traveled around the world.
- They have played cricket in that field.
- The poet has written romantic poems.
- The lyricist has written realistic songs.
- Have you listened to realistic songs?
- I have not quarreled with you.
- Have you been to this place before?
- I have helped him to do the task.
- My mom has cooked beef with cabbage.
- I have watched the cricket match on television.
Watch the following Videos:
Quiz - Present Perfect Tense
You can do this grammar quiz. It tests what you learned on the Present Perfect page.