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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


Present perfect 2


  • 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


Present perfect 4


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


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
(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


Present perfect with time adverbials 2


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


Present perfect and past simple 2


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


Present perfect continuous 2


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.


Hello sir,
I'm confused to using the word 'very'.
I found that sentence in a Error Spotting practice set. ---

We need to just confront the fact that most
politicians around the world regard independent
journalism at best with benign indifference, more
often with rank hypocrisy, and very much often
with open hostility

As far as I know that the word 'very' is followed by Positive Degree Adjective and Much itself is a positive degree.
In the explanation of this sentence, the word 'much' is removed. I didn't understand why it happened.
If there is any rule regarding this.
Please clarify Sir....
Thank you.

Hi Kapil Kabir,

It's true: very can be followed by a positive adjective. But it can also be followed by a negative adjective (e.g. very bad).


It can also be followed by an adverb (e.g. very often / very much). This is the situation in this sentence. Much and often are adverbs, not adjectives, because they are not describing any noun. They describe a verb phrase: regard independent journalism with open hostility


We can't say very much often because much and often don't fit together. Much means a large amount, and often means frequently. So, the meanings of these words don't make sense when added together. To include both, we need to separate them: very much and very often.


So, in the sentence, we can say either very often or very much. But very often fits better because it develops the idea from earlier in the sentence (more often with rank hypocrisy). 


Does that make sense?

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, thank you for providing some useful information.

But there is a doubt regarding the use of these two words Together.

Sir, As you said to me" We can't say very much often because much and often don't fit together. Much means a large amount, and often means frequently. "
But the question that I'm asking now is that 'more' itself is comparative degree of much and in this sentence "more often" was used together. more which itself is a comparative degree of much.
One side we are saying we can't use 'much and often' together and in the contrary of this more is used with often.
How is it possible, sir?
Please clarify

Hi Kapil Kabir,

It's because although more and much might have similar meanings, their grammatical behaviour is different. In your sentence, more needs to modify another adverb (e.g. more often, more quickly, more importantly). That's why more and often can fit together. 

Much (as an adverb) doesn't modify another adverb. It takes the end position in the adverb phrase. Often also takes the end position. That's why much and often can't fit together.

(Be careful not to confuse it with much as a determiner. A determiner does modify another word, e.g. I don't have much time. But the sentence structure here is different to your example.)

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, I'm going

Sir, I wanna ask one more question regarding the use of 'much'.
Sir, as we know that 'much' is a positive degree Adverb.
But much is used before the comparative words which show comparison.
Tannu's room is much bigger than mine.

Here, Bigger is a comparative degree of Big. And we used much before a comparison word( bigger) inspite of much being a positive degree adverb.

Like, very.
Very is also a positive degree adverb.
1) I like her very much.
2) I like her very more/ most.

We know, Sentence 2 is wrong because very is always followed by a positive/negative degree word not comparative or superlative degree words.
The question is that one side we use very with only positive/ negative degree words, on the contrary of this we use much with comparative degree words which show comparison.
Both Very and Much are positive degree adverb.
Is it possible to use much with positive degree words which don't show any comparison when much is an adverb.
Please clarify sir.

Hi Kapil Kabir,

I've done some searching. Most examples of much + adjective that I could find were with a comparative adjective. But I did find a few non-comparative examples.

  • Our pet dog is a much loved member of the family.
  • My exam results were much improved.
  • The medicine didn't do much good.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello> Could you please help me? Which sentences are correct?
1- I haven't seen Ali since last week.
2- I haven't seen Ali since the last week.
3- I haven't seen Ali for last week.
4- I haven't seen Ali for the last week.
Please Why? What are the differences?
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Sentences 1 and 4 are correct.

We use last week to describe a finished period starting on Monday and ending on Sunday - though obviously the days may vary in different cultures.

We use the last week to describe the seven days prior to the day when we are speaking.


For example, as I write it is Friday, September the 18th.

If I say last week then I am describing the period starting Monday, September the 7th and ending Sunday, September the 13th.

If I say the last weekn then I am describing the period starting Saturday, September the 12th and ending today (Friday, September the 18th).


We do not use the last week with since because the last week is not a finished time period - it goes up to the moment of speaking. Thus sentence 2 is incorrect.

We do not use last week with the present perfect because last week is a finished time period. Thus sentence 3 is incorrect.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
I have a confusion regarding the use of pair "not........ but".

As we know that "not...... but" pair follows same part of speech for example.
I'm opposed to the plan of action not because it is ill conceived but because it seems impractical.

In this example "not....... but" pair follows same part of speech that is "because".
I'm a bit confused using the pair " not only........ but also"

I wanna know why " not....... but" pair doesn't follow same part of speech.
In "not only..... but also" pair. Not follows 'only' and but follows 'also' how it is possible, one side we say 'not........but' pair follows same part of speech, and the other side why we use " not only....... but also" pair with different part of speech.
Please clarify sir.