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

Hi guys,
I am very confused about `have been` and it's use in `present perfect tense`.
So far, I know that it can be used to explain about place that you have recently visited
e.g
- I have been to London.
- The doctor has just been here.

Apart from above situation, could you please tell me where it is possible to say something using `Been` as past participle of `Be`.

Regards,
Shivam

Hi shivam340,

'Been' is the past participle of both 'be' and 'go' ('go' has two past participles - 'been' and 'gone'). Here are some examples:

He went home.

He's been home.

He was a teacher.

He's been a teacher.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much Peter M.

Hello! Could you, please, explain the difference between 'I've been to London' and 'I was in London'. I understand that there are different tenses, but which one is used more frequently in this situation, and what we express using the Present Perfect and using the Past Simple? If it's possible, could you give more examples to understand the difference and the accurate use of both tenses?

Hello Ohanna,

Both of these are possible and which is correct depends not upon the frequency, but what the speaker wishes to express. The present perfect describes past events which are not located only in a finished past time but have an effect upon the present. The past simple describes past events which are historical in nature - in other words, they are in the past, happened at a concrete known time and are finished. Thus we can understand the two sentences like this:

I was in London.  -  This is about a past time which is finished. It tells us about an event in the past and it needs a past time, either known from the context or stated (e.g. 'two years ago').

I've been to London.  -  This tells us not really about London, but about the speaker. It tells us of their experience in life, and has no specific time marker.

You can read more about this on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much!

Please explain to me why in the sentence "l gave up drinking coffee. I HAVE NOT DRUNK it for a year" present perfect is used instead of present perfect continuous?

Hello Olga,

There are different ways to look at this and the choice of which form you use really depends on what exactly you mean. In general, however, the simple form can be used to express a sense of completion, which would make sense here – for someone addicted to coffee, not drinking it for a year is an achievement.

For more on this topic, I'd recommend a couple of our pages where it's explained in more detail:

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear team,

I had an interview recently.
Can I say for example ' In respect to the interview I have had, I made some research regarding LADO and found that previously LADO was replaced with Designated Officer/ or Team in 2015. This is supported by 'Working Together to Protect Children'.
I need help, please. Sometimes I'm getting confused with using the present perfect. I've just found the site and found it so great.

Thank you :)

Hello Cocotiera,

Since the interview is now finished, the past simple form ('Regarding the interview I had') would be more appropriate. By the way, if the research you did was after the interview, you could say 'I have done some research regarding ....'

You might find the video on our Transport and Travel Scene 2- Language Focus page useful for understanding how the present perfect and past simple are used.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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