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:


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.


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.






I found a sentence like below in a paper on a linguistic topic:

Irreversibility does not apply to the telic situations in (19): one can easily shut the door after it has been open.

* (19) a. I opened the door. (The door was open.)
b. I had opened the door. (The door was open.)
c. I have opened the door. (The door is open.)

I would like to know if the use of the present perfect in "after it has been open" is better than using the simple present form "after it is open." If there is significant difference in meaning, please gve me some explanation.

Thank you.

Hello K_H,

'after it has been open' is not a correct form – it should be 'after it has been opened'. Which form is better really depends on the fuller context (i.e. at least a sentence or two before and after this sentence) as well as how the speaker sees the event.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

Thank you for your reply.
Given that "after it has been opened" is correct form, there still remains some questions. I guess the author chose the perfect form because he was talking about (ir)reversibility. I mean, The state of being open lasts only temporarily. (If this explanation is wrong, please let me know.)
On the other hand, I have completely no idea in what context the simple form "after it is opened" occurs. Does the simple form give general statement?
I'd appreciate it if you let me know some of your idea.


Hello K_H,

I'm afraid I'm not very familiar with linguistic terminology such as 'telic' and 'irreversibility'. What you say makes sense, and I have an idea of what those terms might be about, but I'm afraid not enough to reliably help you. In any case, we don't enter into such technical matters here on LearnEnglish.

'after it is opened' is the verb open in the passive voice (in the present simple). 'after it is open' is the verb 'be' with the adjective 'open'. Many past participles (such as 'open') can also be used as adjectives, but 'opened' is an exception. In most situations, you are far more likely to hear or read 'it is open' than 'it is opened' – the latter sounds strange unless you're talking, for example, about a procedure in a neutral or formal register.

I'm not sure that helps you or not, but I hope so!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

Thank you for your answer. If you are bit too alarmed as I mentioned some terms about linguistics, I should say sorry to you. I am not a native speaker of English and I just wanted to know the difference in meaning between the present perfect and the simple present.

Anyway, thank you again for your kind answer.


Can I say: "She has played tennis since the age of 10"? Or is it more correct to say: "She has been playing tennis since the age of 10"? Or both are correct?


According to that lesson the present perfect simple gives the idea of completion. But in the exercise from that lesson, there is this example "what have you been doing? You're covered in flour." Why isn't correct " What have you done" ?

Hello Cristina91,

The simple form does indeed give a sense of completion. If we asked 'What have you done?' then we woul expect to hear some completed things:

"I've baked some bread, washed the car, written three emails and taken the dog for a walk. What a busy day!"

On the other hand, the continuous is used when we are interested in the effect of a process. If we asked "What have you been doing?" then we do not expect to hear about completed things but either things unfinished or the effects of the process:

"I've been trying to fix the car, but it's still not working."

"I've been working in the garden, which is why I'm so dirty."

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hi, sorry, english is not my first language (I'm learning the basics now). Can someone help me with this problem?

I know when to use has/have/had (they are past perfect and present perfect), but when should I use "has been" or "have been" or "had been"? I've seen these before in english book, but I cannot find any rule or reason as to what this is. Can someone explain to me when or when not to use it? Why can't I just use "has" instead of "has been"?

also, the same with "having been". What is this and when is it used?

also, what is "been"? It's a form of "be", but what is "be"? Can someone help me understand why this is used in a sentence?

thanks so much, and sorry for asking a lot