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

Section: 

Comments

Sir I am very thankful to you.
I have one issue , i am not getting any mail from this site even of my comment reply, kindly fix this issue.

Dear sir,
She just had her lunch.
She has just had her lunch.
(is the two sentence gramatically correct ?)

Dear sir,
It has come to my notice lately.
It had come to my notice lately.
which one is correct and why please explain details

Hello Tapan100,

Both of these are possible grammatically, but the second sentence requires a context. We use the past perfect ('had come') when there is some other action in the past (typically a past simple form) which the past perfect action refers to - the past perfect action happened before another past action. On its own, without that other action, the second sentence does not make sense. If there were another action then it would be possible.

The first sentence does not require another action because the present perfect describes actions before the present - i.e. now. There is no need to state this in another sentence.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much!
I have the last question... On my English book they talk about giving general information and the example is "I have spoken to Barbara"; but if we refer to a very recent action/ situation, as also a news. Is it correct? I will have an English exam at university in one month!

Hello AzzuCope,

I'm afraid I don't understand your question. The present perfect is not used with a closed time reference, so you can say 'I have spoken to Barbara' but not 'I have spoken to Barbara on Monday'. If the time period is closed (finished) then a past form must be used.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

For example: " I have read a book" and " I read a book". Or "I have seen titanic" and " I saw Titanic". Which ones are correct? And what's the difference?

Hello AzzuCope,

The present perfect tells us about something in the past which has a present relevance. For example, 'I have seen Titanic' tells us something about the present: that the speaker doesn't want to watch the film because they've seen it already, or that they can tell you something about the film, or that they have something in common with another fan etc.

By contrast, the past simple places the action in a completed time frame. We use this form when the action is entirely complete and has no particular effect today. The past simple gives us information about the past; the present perfect gives us information about how the past influences the present. Note that the past simple requires a time reference, either explict ('I went to Spain in 1999') or implicit from the context.

I hope that clarifies it for you. Please also try to post your question in one comment rather than several - it makes it easier to read and answer and takes up less space on the page so that more comments from others are visible.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
Which is the difference between present prefect simple and past simple as regard unspecified time?

*on the contrary, past simple is used when we talk about actions which are not so recent, without sacrificing the time.
Is it correct?

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