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:


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 teacher.
As i studied we use both present perfect and present continuous for"change over time" so what the difference between them. As in these tow sentences
Your English is improving.
Your English has improved.

Hello. Teacher. I have 3 questions about present perfect as i am studying it now.
+ is today is a finished or unfinished time word or both, can we say this and if yes what the difference between them
I drink 3 cups of tea today
I have drunk 3 cups of tea today
+ with these verbs "live, learn,wait,work, teach,study" is it correct that there is no difference between present perfect simple and continuous
+what the difference between these 2 sentences
My uncle has gone to New York 5 times.
My uncle went to New York 5 times.
Thank you in advance

Hello ronaz2015,

In answer to your first question, 'I drink three cups of tea today' is not correct in standard English – this same sentence with the present perfect is correct. As for the second, there is a slight difference of emphasis between the simple and continuous forms – our Quick Grammar Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous explains this. And in answer to your last question, I'd recommend you read our talking about the past page, especially parts 1 and 4.

These are good questions and it can take some time to get a good handle on these forms, so I'd recommend you keep working on them. If you have any further questions, please let us know.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

For my last question i meant what the difference in meaning. Does the second sentence imply that "my uncle " us died as i saw it in video on YouTube. I have read what you mentioned.

Hello ronaz2015,

I see now – thanks for clarifying. The answer is 'maybe', because it's impossible to say for sure without knowing the context.

It could imply that your uncle is no longer alive, but, on the other hand, if you were talking about, for example, the fours years when your uncle was a student at Vassar College (which is near New York City), you could use the simple past and it wouldn't imply that he is dead now, because it's within the context of a finished period of time in the past. It would mean that, during the four years he lived in Poughkeepsie, he visited New York five times.

I hope this helps, but let us know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.could you please look at this and correct it if wrong:
I am at my friend house and we are talking.
Do you know that i have / have lost my key.
I lost /have lost my key.I will not be able to get in my house tomorrow.
I think the present perfect is corret, amn't i right?
Thank you in advance.

Hello ronaz2015,

Yes, the present perfect looks the best option in those sentences.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Dear Team! I have a question regarding the difference between the present perfect simple and continuous. If question begins from "How long...?", we always talks about how long something has been happening and we will use Perfect Continuous. Correct? Or we can use Perfect Simple in such questions?

Hello Masha2307,

No, that's not necessarily the case. It is quite possible to use the present perfect simple in such examples. The present perfect continuous focuses on the ongoing activity and suggests that it is incomplete; the present perfect simple treats the action as one event which may be complete. However, these are subjective considerations in many cases and often both forms are correct; which is used is a choice of the speaker.

You can find more information on the difference between the two forms here.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team