present perfect

 

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

sir
what should be the correct sentence if i want to tell when i saw the movie?
"I have seen that film yesterday".
thank you.

Hello mkashifk,

If you saw the film yesterday, you should use the past simple to speak about it: 'I saw that film yesterday.' You can read more about this on our talking about the past and past simple pages.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Please explain me,why the present perfect is used in this sentence
"Google has said it will give preference to more secure websites in its search rankings from now on."???

Hello Nazar,

It's one of the reasons listed on this page - about halfway down!

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir please do some courtesy to answer my question..
i only want to ask -

Actually sir one of my friend says that in present perfect continuous tense if the time period is not mentioned then it means that the action has just stopped..But i dont agree with his statement..i believe that the continuity of the action is totally independent of the time period..

For example.. i have been playing football
My friend says " the action has stopped recently because the time period is not mentioned.. Had it been i have been playing football for 2 hours then it would mean that action is still continuing "

but i say " the continuity of the action is independent of the time period..it can mean both depending on the context..Maybe he is still playing or maybe he has just stopped playing "

So Sir who is right ?? Me or my friend ?? I'm too confused..Waiting for your reply

Hi orton,

When the time period is not mentioned, there is a suggestion that the action is not in process at the moment of speaking, but this is not explicit and there are some contexts in which this is not true (e.g. 'I've been reading this book.' - it could be that I've got the book open on my lap, or it could be on the shelf). This means that the present perfect continuous refers to a general action, not to a specific moment, as it can be used to refer to actions that have finished or are still in process. So if a time period is mentioned, the present perfect continuous suggests it's incomplete, but it doesn't indicate whether the action wil be continued or not. Context is far more determinate of meaning than most people realise.

As I think we've mentioned to you before, we're not generally able to answer lots of questions from the same user. Nor is our primary purpose to answer questions that aren't directly related to the site. We are a small team with lots of work and millions of users who ask dozens of questions every day. As much as we'd like to be able to answer any question from anyone all the time, to be fair to the other users and to be able to maintain and improve the site, we just can't do that. In the future, if a question of yours remains unanswered for a time, please be patient - we will get to it as soon as we can. There is no need to repeat your question or ask us why we haven't answered it yet.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

In your suggested page it says - "i have been reading the book you lent me" means that the action is not completed at the moment of speaking..So does this means that he/she is still reading the book at the time of speaking ??

Regarding the sentence - My hands are dirty because i have been playing football.
i suppose this sentence means that the action has just stopped..Right ??

If the sentence is - i have been playing football..
Does this mean that the action is still continuing or the action has just stopped..OR can it mean both ???

Actually sir one of my friend says that in present perfect continuous tense if the time period is not mentioned then it means that the action has just stopped..But i dont agree with his statement..i believe that the continuity of the action is totally independent of the time period..
For example.. i have been playing football
My friend says " the action has stopped recently because the time period is not mentioned.. Had it been i have been playing football for 2 hours then it would mean that action is still continuing "
but i say " the continuity of the action is independent of the time period..it can mean both depending on the context..Maybe he is still playing or maybe he has just stopped playing "
So Sir who is right ?? Me or my friend ?? I'm too confused..Waiting for your reply

Thanks

i have been reading book.
i have been reading book for 2 hours.
Does both the sentence means that he/she is still reading book..or has he/she just finished reading book..??

The reason I am asking this question is that present perfect continus tense is used for an action which started in the the past and is still continuing or for an action which have stopped recently...So how do we get to know that the action has just stopped or is still continuing ??? Kirk sir plz help me out

Hello orton,

Both of these sentences imply that the action was not complete at the moment of speaking, though the context is important.

You can find more information on the uses of the present perfect simple and continuous - including some discussion of just this example - on this page.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi..help me in these questions.
1. Where have you been?
2. Where have you been before?
3.Where have you been up to now?
Then I answer
1. I'v just been out watching the football match. This answer is for the first two questions meaning that someone asked me on the recent past place i had been before meeting him. am i right? If not what is the difference btn the two questions?
2. I'v been in the laundry washing my clothes. This is the answer for the third question meaning that he asked me for the recent place I'v been till the moment of speakig. Am I right?

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