You are here

Present perfect

Level: beginner

The present perfect is formed from the present tense of the verb have and the past participle of a verb.

We use the present perfect:

  • 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.

  • when we are talking about our experience up to the present:

I've seen that film before.
I've played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
He has written three books and he is working on another one.

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.

and we use never for the negative form:

Have you ever met George?
Yes, but I've never met his wife.

Present perfect 1

GapFillTyping_MTYzMDE=

Present perfect 2

GapFillTyping_MTYzMDU=

  • for something that happened in the past but is important in the present:

I can't get in the house. I've lost my keys.
Teresa isn't at home. I think she has gone shopping.

Present perfect 3

Matching_MTYzMDY=

Present perfect 4

GapFillTyping_MTYzMDc=

have been and have gone

We use have/has been 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's Maria? I haven't seen her for weeks.
B: She's gone to Paris for a week. She'll be back tomorrow.
 

have been and have gone

MultipleChoice_MTYzMTA=

Present perfect with time adverbials 

We often use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to the recent past:

recently just only just

Scientists have recently discovered a new breed of monkey.
We have just got back from our holidays.

or adverbials which include the present:

so far     until now     up to now
ever
(in questions)
yet (in questions and negatives)

Have you ever seen a ghost?
Where have you been up to now?
A: Have you finished your homework yet?
B: No, so far I've only done my history.

After a clause with the present perfect we often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:

I've worked here since I left school.
I've been watching that programme every week since it started.

Present perfect with time adverbials 1

MultipleChoice_MTYzMTM=

Present perfect with time adverbials 2

GapFillTyping_MTYzMTQ=

Be careful!
We do not use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to a finished past time:
yesterday last week/month/year in 2017 when I was younger etc.

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 the present perfect with adverbials which refer to a time which is not yet finished:
today this week/month/year now that I am 18 etc.

Have you seen Helen today?
We have bought a new car this week.

Present perfect and past simple 1

MultipleChoice_MTYzMTU=

Present perfect and past simple 2

GapFillTyping_MTYzMTc=

Level: intermediate

Present perfect continuous

The present perfect continuous is formed with have/has been and the -ing form of the verb.

We normally use the present perfect continuous to emphasise that something is still continuing in the present:

She has been living in Liverpool all her life.
It's been raining for hours.
I'm tired out. I've been working all day.
They have been staying with us since last week.

We do not normally use the present perfect continuous with stative verbs. We use the present perfect simple instead:

I've always been liking liked John.

Present perfect continuous 1

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTYzMTg=

Present perfect continuous 2

GapFillTyping_MTYzMTk=

Present perfect for future

We normally use the present simple to talk about the future in clauses with before, after, until, etc.:

I'll keep looking until I find my book.
We'll begin when everyone arrives.

but we can also use the present perfect:

I'll keep looking until I have found my book.
We'll begin when everyone has arrived.

Comments

Hello DaniWeebKage,

These questions are grammatically correct, but a bit unnatural. For one thing, 'anyone' would be better than 'someone' in this question, unless you are thinking of a particular person. But if you are thinking of a particular person, it would be better to say 'Kareem' or 'that woman' or something more specific. And probably the word 'coming' isn't really needed, i.e. I'd probably say 'Have you seen Kareem here the last three days?'

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

 

What is the difference between
I have a lot of experience.

I've had a lot of experience.
Thanks.

Hello DaniWeebKage,

The first one speaks about your experience without any emphatic reference to a period of time. The second one refers to a more specific period of time -- your life up until now -- and implies a slight separation between your past and the present time. 

These probably refer to the same period of time in the end, but the first one is probably better in most situations.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks, Sir, Kirk
I'd ask you two more questions.
1) My English Text says
"When we want to give a piece of news in Present Perfect, We use Past Simple."
Could you explain that a little easier to understand?
#1We have planted an apple tree in the garden. Unfortunately, it died.
#2We planted an apple tree in the garden.
Unfortunately, it died.
What is the difference between these two?

2) I confused Present Perfect with both
Past simple and Present Simple.
As I am not a native speaker, I couldn't
clarify too much about it.
#1 (We are in the middle of a game, one of my teammates fail to jungle, then what I should say)
You fail to jungle.
Or
You have failed to jungle. You have been failing for the last 10 mins.

Could you plz give me some tips to clarify?
This letter is too long, I'm sorry about that.
Or
This letter has been too long.?
Thanks

Hello again DaniWeebKage,

Re: 1, yes, we often use the present perfect to give news because the event we are speaking about is related to the present in our minds -- we're thinking about recent events, events that are connected to now in a way. The first sentence is an example of this -- imagine you're speaking with a friend you haven't spoken to in a month, and when you're telling him what you've been doing in the past month, you could say this.

The second sentence is what you'd use in most other contexts. For example, maybe you're telling your friend about something you did when you were young. That's the distant past, with no relation to the present and so the past simple is the form to use.

I'm afraid I don't understand the sentences in 2 at all. The world 'jungle' doesn't make any sense to me there.

I'd probably say 'This letter is too long' because at the end of the letter I'm still writing it. I still need to write the closing, for example.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

sorry i meant "help" when i said "helo"

hello

I dont understand why "present perfect" talks about the past and mostly i confuse present perfect with past simple
i hope you can helo me

Joaquín Ratari

Hello Joaquin,

The present perfect is a present verb form. It tells us something about the present with reference to the past. For example:

I went to Spain in 2004. [a historical event]

I've been to Spain. [something that happened in the past that is relevant now - for example, because I can tell you about Spain, or I can speak Spanish, or I don't want to go there again]

 

The present perfect has a range of uses, as you can see on the page, but all of them are about connecting the past to the present in some way. If you have a particular example which confuses you then we'll be happy to comment, of course.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello

“The stakeholders observed that over the last 2 years, a new advancement in cutting-edge technological measures has increased the company’s profitability”
In the above sentence, why did we not use 'has been increasing the company’s profitability' since ‘over the last 2 years’ implies a length of time during which the profitability kept increasing i.e. it was an ongoing action over the last 2 years?

Thanks.

Hello ER,

Both the simple and continuous forms can be used here. The continuous form focuses on the process, while the simple form focuses on the result. Which form is used is really a choice for the speaker/writer.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Pages