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:

Use

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.

WARNING:

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.

   

Exercise

Comments

hello are those sentences correct?:
1.i have been home
2.i have been to home

3.i have gone home
4.i have gone to home

Hi Abdel El,

1 and 3 are correct, but 2 and 4 are not. We don't use 'to' before 'home' when we talk about going there.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Out of all the tenses most interesting or the tense I like most is present perfect.
Your explanations have helped me a lot and your web site. I am asking the following questions to make sure that I have understood them correctly. For e.g.
It has been raining for hours./ It has rained for hours. It has been raining for two hours.
It has rained for two hours.
I have been living in Nepal for six months./ I have lived in Nepal for six months.
My question: If all these are correct, they mean at the moment it is raining and at the moment I am living in Nepal.
I am I right or wrong. Please let me know.
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hi Lal,

In both of the sentences you are still living in Nepal and both could be used with no distinction in meaning in some contexts. But if, for example, you wanted to emphasise that your stay in Nepal is temporary, the continuous form would be the correct one to use and not the other. We can't explain all the possibilities here because there are just too many and that's not really what we're here for anyway!

In the other sentences, the continuous ones clearly indicate that it is still raining. The present perfect one is not very natural outside of a context that specifies the time period you're in. For example, if the person you're speaking to has just remarked how dry it has been this month, you could say 'Yes, it has only rained for a couple of hours' and that would work because the context (this month) is clear. Without a specific time period like this, however, it would not be a natural sentence.

I hope this helps. We're glad we've been able to help you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello which sentence is correct of those?::

1.i have been working here since 1990
2.i have worked here since 1990

Hello Abdel El,

Both sentences are correct. Which is better for your particular context will depend upon that context and your intention.

We have a page focusing on the differences between the present perfect simple and continuous forms. You can find it here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello
how we can use a sentence with ?: i have gone

Hello Abdel El,

For example, imagine you are at home and decide to go to the market. Your mother is out and you know that she will wonder where are when she arrives home and doesn't find you. So you could leave her a note saying 'I have gone to the market'.

If you mean just 'I have gone', that would be a bit unusual, though not impossible.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello

is it correct to say this ?:
he has gone since one week

Hello Abdel El,

No, that is not correct. I'm not sure what you mean, but you could say, for example, 'He has been gone for one week' or 'He went there one week ago'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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