We use the present perfect to show that something has continued up to the present

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

… or is important in the present:

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

We use the present perfect continuous to show that something has been continuing up to the present:

It’s been raining for hours.
We’ve been waiting here since six o’clock this morning.

We use the past perfect to show that something continued up to a time in the past:

When George died he and Anne had been married for nearly fifty years.

... or was important at that time in the past:

I couldn’t get into the house. I had lost my keys.
Teresa wasn’t at home. She had gone shopping.

We use the past perfect continuous to show that something had been continuing up to a time in the past or was important at that time in the past:

Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.
He was a wonderful guitarist. He had been playing ever since he was a teenager.

We use will with the perfect to show that something will be complete at some time in the future:

In a few years they will have discovered a cure for the common cold.
I can come out tonight. I'll have finished my homework by then.

We use would with the perfect to refer to something that did not happen in the past but would have happened if the conditions had been right:

If you had asked me I would have helped you.
I would have helped you, but you didn’t ask me.
You didn’t ask me or I would have helped you.

We use other modals with perfective aspect when we are looking back from a point in time when something might have happened, should have happened or would have happened.

The point of time may be in the future:

We’ll meet again next week. We might have finished the work by then.
I will phone at six o’clock. He should have got home by then.

the present:

It’s getting late. They should have arrived by now.
He’s still not here. He must have missed his train.

or the past:

I wasn’t feeling well. I must have eaten something bad.
I checked my cell phone. She could have left a message.

 


 

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Comments

Hi sir........
Which is right answer.....
Why should a man have/has unilateral power?
Please explain me.

Hello Gautam,

'have' is the correct form. All verbs following modal auxiliary verbs (in this sentence, 'should') go in the bare infinitive form ('have' is the bare infinitive).

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir
In the following sentences:
1. The match is over. They (have been watching/ have watched) it for the whole day.
2. She (has watched / has been watching) T.V. for one hour. But now she is doing her homework.
As per my understanding in both the sentences the progressive option seems correct but none of the actions are continuing till the present. Should it be present perfect then?
Tense order got me confused!

Hello amrita_enakshi,

We use the present perfect when the time period is not complete, or when it continues up to the moment of speaking.

Your first sentence could be formulated with the present perfect if the match has only just finished - in other words if the people in question were watching it right up to the moment of speaking.

The present perfect does not work in the second sentence in my opinion as the time period is clearly in the past. The person described is not starting her homework but is in the process of doing it (as the present continuous is used) and so the watching much have ended earlier. Therefore a past tense would be appropriate here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Could you help me, Sir?

Throughout history, both ancient and modern, men _____ fond of waging war.
or

Thank you.

Hello Xecutor,

I'm afraid we don't provide help with exercises from elsewhere like this. We would end up doing homework and tests for everyone if we did!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Could you pick the right one as i am confused between have and had reference.

1.Throughout history, both ancient and modern, men have been fond of waging war.
2.Throughout history, both ancient and modern, men had been fond of waging war.

Thank you.

Hello Xecutor,

If it is still true that men are fond of waging war then the correct choice is 'have been'. If men were fond of waging war but now are not (an unlikely proposition!) then the correct choice would be 'had been'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, could explain me correct form "She could have left a message" or it should be "She could has left a message". Thank you.

Hello Taket,

The correct form here is 'could have'. We do not use 'has' after a modal verb.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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