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

Hi, is this sentence correct?

" I have done too much household works before I go to the office"

Thank you

Hi Verony,

No, I'm afraid it is not correct.  The time reference is past here - a finished time in the past, so past simple is needed rather than present perfect.

A correct version would be as follows:

I did too much housework before I went to the office.

Best wishes

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

1.I have talked to him and he agrees with mee
2.I have been talking to him and he agrees with me

1. I was talking to him
2. I have been talking to him

these sentences are the same for me i can't find difference ?
please help me thank you very much in advance

Hi Source,

In the first two sentences, the difference is subtle. In both, you have spoken with him recently - the difference is that in the second, the use of the continuous aspect emphasises that you've spoken with him repeatedly or in ongoing way.

In the second two sentences, the first one refers to a time that has no connection with the present moment, i.e. that is past. The second sentence suggest some connection with the present, i.e. that the speaking has taken place recently.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
I have some doubt about have and have been. Let's see these sentences.
1) They've married for nearly fifty years
2)They've been married for nearly fifty years
Are these both sentences meaning same??
Thanks

Hello Wagisha,

Only the second sentence is correct: it is the present perfect of used for unfinished past (the verb is 'be', the present perfect is 'have been'), plus the adjective 'married'.  'Marry' as a verb is used to describe what the person who conducts the ceremony does.  For example, we might say 'The priest married them in a ceremony at the local church.'

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi...this site is really helpful for me.
i am very confused in present perfect or in present perfect continuous tense.you should make 2 different page for perfect and perfect continuous.

Hello harshit629,

Having separate pages for the present perfect continuous and simple would be useful for dealing with the form, but not really the meaning, as the choice of which to use is only clear when they are contrasted together.  Fortunately, we have a page devoted to exactly this question.  You can find it here and I hope it will help to clarify the difference between the two.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi I want to know if in present perfect I have to use has with the third person, I'm not talking about present perfect continuous, I'm just talking about present perfect.

thanks

Hello Andres_Rubio,

Yes, you need to use 'has' (or 'hasn't) with the third person present perfect.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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