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

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


We use the present perfect tense:

  • 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.

Note: We normally use the present perfect continuous for this:

She has been living in Liverpool all her life.
It’s been raining for hours.

  •  for something we have done several times in the past and continue to do:

I’ve played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
He has written three books and he is working on another one.
I’ve been watching that programme every week.

We often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:

They’ve been staying with us since last week.
I have worked here since I left school.
I’ve been watching that programme every week since it started.

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

Note: 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.

Note: and we use never for the negative form:

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

  • for something that happened in the past but is important at the time of speaking:

I can’t get in the house. I’ve lost my keys.
Teresa isn’t at home. I think she has gone shopping.
I’m tired out. I’ve been working all day.


 We use the present perfect of be 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 is Maria? I haven’t seen her for weeks.
B: She's gone to Paris for a week. She’ll be back tomorrow.

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

just; only just; recently;

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

or adverbials which include the present:

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

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


We do not use the present perfect with an adverbial which refers to past time which is finished:

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 it to refer to a time which is not yet finished:

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





Hello Rossella,

It is possible with 'reflect', 'imagine' and 'remember', though it's a bit unusual. You'd need a specific reason, for example to refer to something you're doing right now, to use the continuous form with one of them.

I can't think of a context when 'seem' would be used in the continuous.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot again,Kirk.

Hello again,Team!
Once again a good old question ,
What option is more correct in terms of grammar:
e.g. - I came to visit my friend,he opens a door and unexpectedly sees me,and then I say:
1. I have come just to say hello.
2 .I came just to say hello.
It would seem that the option N1 is more appropriate as my visit is present at the moment and hasn't gone to the past(distinctly separated) yet, but still,I often see and hear option N2 in cases like this,or both are correct and why?
Thanks in advance

Hello Slava B,

Before answering your question, I just wanted to point out that 'just' would normally go in a different position: 'I have just come' or 'I just came'.


Traditionally 1 would be considered more correct, especially in Britain, and I expect you'd find it more commonly used there. In American English, however, the past simple has come to take the place of the present perfect in some situations, and this is one of them. You would therefore be more likely to hear the simple past there. It's also becoming used more often in British English, too, probably due to the influence of American English. 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi sir
I know all about that film because i have watched that movie twice or had watched that movie twice which one should be correct

Hi aseel aftab,

The correct form here is 'have watched' because you are describing a present result (knowing the film) of a past action (watching it).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir
Austrailia have won the cricket world cup or Austrailia won the cricket world cup which one is preffered more.

Hello aseel aftab,

Please see my earlier answer regarding the present perfect and past simple in the sentence about floods. These examples follow the same rules.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

1. I've been to Italy before.
2. We've been friends since 1999
Does been have two meanings in present perfect simple1. as went and came back and 2. as the usual to be? Or is one considered a present perfect continuous?
If both are present perfect simple if I want to write this sentence"You're being mean" in present perfect continuous how would it be?

Hello amena.nadeem,

Yes, 'been' can have both of the meanings you suggest. If the context is one involving movement from one place to another, then it has the 'went and came back' meaning, but otherwise it's the normal link verb meaning.

The present perfect continuous of the sentence you ask about is 'You have been being mean'. We don't tend to use 'be' in the present perfect continuous, though it's certainly possible. Most of the time, people would probably say 'Lately you've been mean to him'. I'm not sure if that's the context for what you're thinking, so please ask us again if you had something else in mind.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team