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

Hello,

I am taking these examples from the lesson,please check if my versions are correct or not. This is something new I learnt today, all these three examples were correct according to me,till now.

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.
Can I write it as "I saw that film yesterday".

We have just bought a new car last week.
Can I write it as " We bought a new car last week".

When we were children we have been to California.
I am unable to figure out how to rephrase this sentence,please advice.

English Grammar is tough!!!

Thanks and regards,
Mahua

Hello Mahua,

English Grammar can be tough, but you've done a good job with these sentences! The two sentences that you propose are correct. For the last one, if you change 'have been' to 'went' it will be correct.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk.

sorry, I meant "she HAS ATTENDED" non she attended.

Hi everyone,
I am still confused about how to use properly present perfect and simple past. For instance I have read this sentence in a letter "she attended Santa Clara's school from 2000 to 2005". Is it correct? If so, why? Aren't they talking about past concluded period? I would use the past simple.
Thank you in advance for replying
S.

Hello Soniagee,

It's hard to say whether a sentence is correct or not without knowing the context, and in any case we don't generally comment on texts from other sources, but I can say that sentence is correct in many contexts. 'attended' is the past simple and makes sense for a past time period. Assuming this sentence was written sometime after 2005, using 'has attended' would be unusual, as it implies that the time period hasn't finished.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

They’ve been married for nearly fifty years.

Why have you using here (present perfect continuous). my question is "have been" comes for only (present perfect continuous) here the sentence (have been + past participle ). i am little get confuse. pls clarify me.

Hello taj25,

The verb here is 'be' and it is not an example of the present perfect continuous, but the present perfect simple. 'Married' here is an adjective; 'have been' is the verb form.

All continuous forms have an -ing form of the verb. The present perfect continuous of 'be' would be 'have been being', but it is rarely used.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi. I have a question related to the Present Perfect tense. Is "What did you just (verb)?" correct? I've always been using this construction but wouldn't Present Perfect be better for this or actually correct? For example, "What have you just said?" instead of "What did you just say?"

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