Level: beginner

The present perfect is formed from the present tense of the verb have and the past participle of a verb.

We use the present perfect:

  • for something that started in the past and continues in the present:

They've been married for nearly fifty years.
She has lived in Liverpool all her life.

  • when we are talking about our experience up to the present:

I've seen that film before.
I've played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
He has written three books and he is working on another one.

We often use the adverb ever to talk about experience up to the present:

My last birthday was the worst day I have ever had.

and we use never for the negative form:

Have you ever met George?
Yes, but I've never met his wife.

Present perfect 1

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Present perfect 2

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  • for something that happened in the past but is important in the present:

I can't get in the house. I've lost my keys.
Teresa isn't at home. I think she has gone shopping.

Present perfect 3

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Present perfect 4

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have been and have gone

We use have/has been when someone has gone to a place and returned:

A: Where have you been?
B: I've just been out to the supermarket.

A: Have you ever been to San Francisco?
B: No, but I've been to Los Angeles.

But when someone has not returned, we use have/has gone:

A: Where's Maria? I haven't seen her for weeks.
B: She's gone to Paris for a week. She'll be back tomorrow.
 

have been and have gone

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Present perfect with time adverbials 

We often use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to the recent past:

recently just only just

Scientists have recently discovered a new breed of monkey.
We have just got back from our holidays.

or adverbials which include the present:

so far     until now     up to now
ever
(in questions)
yet (in questions and negatives)

Have you ever seen a ghost?
Where have you been up to now?
A: Have you finished your homework yet?
B: No, so far I've only done my history.

After a clause with the present perfect we often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:

I've worked here since I left school.
I've been watching that programme every week since it started.

Present perfect with time adverbials 1

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Present perfect with time adverbials 2

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Be careful!
We do not use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to a finished past time:
yesterday last week/month/year in 2017 when I was younger etc.

I have seen that film yesterday.
We have just bought a new car last week.
When we were children we have been to California.

but we can use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to a time which is not yet finished:
today this week/month/year now that I am 18 etc.

Have you seen Helen today?
We have bought a new car this week.

Present perfect and past simple 1

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Present perfect and past simple 2

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Level: intermediate

Present perfect continuous

The present perfect continuous is formed with have/has been and the -ing form of the verb.

We normally use the present perfect continuous to emphasise that something is still continuing in the present:

She has been living in Liverpool all her life.
It's been raining for hours.
I'm tired out. I've been working all day.
They have been staying with us since last week.

We do not normally use the present perfect continuous with stative verbs. We use the present perfect simple instead:

I've always been liking liked John.

Present perfect continuous 1

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Present perfect continuous 2

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Present perfect for future

We normally use the present simple to talk about the future in clauses with before, after, until, etc.:

I'll keep looking until I find my book.
We'll begin when everyone arrives.

but we can also use the present perfect:

I'll keep looking until I have found my book.
We'll begin when everyone has arrived.

Comments

Hi Abdel El,

If it's now 11pm then it would be better to say 'I bought' instead of 'I have bought' because 'this morning' is clearly in the past. I would also suggest changing 'It is' to 'It's', but that's not strictly necessary.

Good work!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello
what is the sentence correct of those?:
1.He has been feeling much better since he has taken that medicine.
2.He has been feeling much better since he he took that medicine.

Hello Abdel El,

The second sentence is correct. 'Since' is generally used to refer to a point in past time and so the past simple is appropriate. The present perfect is used in the first part of the sentence because it describes a state which began at that point and continues to the present.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello
is this tense correct? :

Leaving home at 12 was the hardest thing I ever did

Hello Abdel El,

Yes, that is OK, though 'I've ever done' would be a little better since it would indicate that you expect to live longer (if that is the case). If you're speaking about a finished past period in your life, e.g. when you lived in Cairo from 2003–2007, then 'I had ever done' would probably be the best.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

What tense do we use with the phrase ‘from that day on’?

Which of the following sentences is best assuming that the village still exists at the time of speaking?

From that day on, the village was known as Api-Api Village.

From that day on, the village has been known as Api-Api Village.

From that day on, the village is known as Api-Api Village.

Hello zhouyoumin,

Both was known and has been known are possible here. Strictly speaking, if the village is still called Api-Api and the speaker is conscious of that fact then the present perfect (has been known) should be used as we are talking about unfinished past. However, the speaker may be using known in the sense of given the name, in which case the past simple (was known) would be possible as the name-giving was an action in the past. This is really a question of how the speaker sees this event.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your reply and for making it so easy to understand.
Re your explanation of how it could be used in the past simple — I never thought of it that way. It makes sense! Thanks again.

I have a question.

She helped me (to carry/carried/carry) the heavy luggage.

Which answer/s are acceptable?

I believe to carry and carry are both acceptable but my lecturer thinks i’m wrong and said that the correct answers are either to carry or carried.

Please help me.. if i’m correct, how am I supposed to explain to my lecturer?

Hello nadhsna,

In the sentence

She helped me (to carry/carried/carry) the heavy luggage.

the possible answers are to carry and carryCarried is not correct.

 

I can't suggest how this can be explained as it is not part of a larger grammar rule but rather part of the lexical use of the verb help, which can be part of these structures:

help + [direct object] + [to verb]

help + [direct object] + [verb]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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