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! would it be correct to say and how?
She has been a native of Liverpool.But now she is in San Francisco..... plis clariy my doubt regarding usage of : has been

Please help! Why wasn't a question:"Who won"?(in the game) used in present perfect tence?it seems to me this action has a result with a present:someone is a winner of a game,isn't it?

Hello Nazar973,

You're right - as is explained above, the present perfect can be used to speak about 'something that happened in the past but is important at the time of speaking', and so it is often used to report recent events. However, if the event is not considered recent, the simple past is more appropriate. The simple past is also more common in American English, and is also used more and more in newspaper headlines to save space (as the simple past is usually shorter than the present perfect).

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I have many doubts in the present perfect:
First: Can I say "I have been in a football game"
It happened last saturday but it wasn't necessary.Today is Tuesday.
I've done that in that in my test and the teacher put a cross.The aim of the composition was to write about the weekend.If I am wrong could you correct me, please.Could you explain me better the present perfect ?
HUGS

Filipe

Hi Pipo363,

If the game was Saturday and today is Tuesday, then no, you should not use the present perfect in English - you should use the past simple. The game finished on Saturday and presumably has no connection to today, and so the present perfect doesn't work.

Our talking about the past page might also be a useful resource for you. I'd also recommend this episode from Word on the Street to better understand the present perfect, and this episode to better understand the difference betweent the present perfect and past simple.

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

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
It's the first possibility I have to talk with you. I'm portuguese
I have a doubt: what is right

I have learned cello since I was a kid.
I have been learning cello since I was a kid.
I coutinue studying cello

Can you explain me better the p.perfect and the past simple, please?

The last:''No way'' means the same than ''I can't believe it!'', doesn't it?

Hugs, Pipo363

Hello Pipo363,

Both the first and the second sentences are correct (though we use 'the' with musical instruments and so we would say 'the cello').  I think the second is better as it emphasises the duration/process of learning, but both are correct.

The third sentence is not very natural.  A better (similar) sentence would be 'I am still studying the cello'.  This, of course, does not tell us how long you have been studying, simply that you are doing it now and not stopping.

'No way!' is used in that way in US English.  In British English 'No way!' means that something is not possible or that we will not allow it.

I hope that answers your questions.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglish Team,
Sometimes I really confuse about usage of these two tenses please help me to understand as I want to say that I am learning English right now I started three years ago and now I am still learning, in this situation can I use both of these tenses !

1- I have been learning English for three years now.

is it possible to make present perfect for this ?

Hello Abdul Qadir,

The correct sentence would be 'I have been learning English for three years (now)' - i.e. using the present perfect.  I'm not sure what the other tense you refer to is when you say 'both of these tenses', but present perfect is the best way to express this idea.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Is correct to say "At the University, I have learnt how to speak English..."? I am not studying there anymore. Why am I using this tense? The present perfect tense is used to talk about (some kind of) experience / events from the past, when the specific time is not referred . Right? I am looking forward to your reply. Thank you in advance.

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