Present perfect

Present perfect

Do you know how to use phrases like She's called every day this week, I've broken my leg and Have you ever been to Scotland? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how the present perfect is used.

He's been to ten different countries.
I haven't seen her today.
My phone's run out of battery. Can I use yours?
Have you ever dyed your hair a different colour?

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Present perfect: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

We use the present perfect simple (have or has + past participle) to talk about past actions or states which are still connected to the present.

Unfinished time and states

We often use the present perfect to say what we've done in an unfinished time period, such as today, this week, this year, etc., and with expressions such as so far, until now, before, etc.

They've been on holiday twice this year.
We haven't had a lot of positive feedback so far.
I'm sure I've seen that film before.

We also use it to talk about life experiences, as our life is also an unfinished time period. We often use never in negative sentences and ever in questions.

I've worked for six different companies.
He's never won a gold medal.
Have you ever been to Australia?

We also use the present perfect to talk about unfinished states, especially with for, since and how long.

She's wanted to be a police officer since she was a child.
I haven't known him for very long.
How long have you had that phone?

Finished time and states

If we say when something happened, or we feel that that part of our life is finished, we use the past simple.

We visited Russia for the first time in 1992.
I went to three different primary schools.
Before she retired, she worked in several different countries.

We also use the past simple for finished states.

We knew all our neighbours when we were children.
I didn't like bananas for a really long time. Now I love them!

Past actions with a result in the present

We can use the present perfect to talk about a past action that has a result in the present.

He's broken his leg so he can't go on holiday.
There's been an accident on the main road, so let's take a different route.
They haven't called me, so I don't think they need me today.

Again, if we say when it happened, we use the past simple.

He broke his leg last week so he can't go on holiday.

However, we often use the present perfect with words like just, recently, already, yet and still.

We've recently started going to the gym.
She's already finished season one and now she's watching season two.
Have you checked your emails yet?

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Present perfect: Grammar test 2

Language level

Average: 4.3 (26 votes)
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Submitted by Smith on Sun, 11/10/2020 - 08:32

Pls let me know the meaning of these sentences. Thank you. 1. Does he do his homework regularly 2. Has he been doing his homework regularly

Hello Smith,

The first sentence (Does he do...) is a question about the person's normal or typical behaviour.

The second question (Has he been doing...) is a question about recent time. It doesn't tell us anything about the person's typical behaviour, but only about his recent actions.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by MPhayTp on Fri, 02/10/2020 - 05:15

Dear team, I'd like to ask what's the difference between these sentences? Jonas is a writer. He has written since he was 18 years old. (Present Perfect) He has been writing since he was 18 years old. (Present Perfect Continuous) And also Sir, How to decide to use whether Present Perfect or Past simple? Could you tell me some tips? Thanks a lot :")
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Sun, 04/10/2020 - 14:31

In reply to by MPhayTp


Hello DaniWeebKage,

Have you seen our Present perfect simple and continuous page? I believe the explanation there will answer your questions, but if you have any others, please feel to ask us more on that page.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Yes, I've done. So Present Perfect focuses on results. Then Sir, He has played tennis since he was a child. He is really good at it.(Present Perfect) He has been playing tennis since he was a child. (Present Perfect Contin) Am I right? Also, Sir, Correct my sentences plz

Hi DaniWeebKage,

Both of your sentences are correct. But if we were standing together watching this man playing tennis really well, I'd probably say 'He has been playing since he was a child' because presumably his playing tennis started when he was a child and has continued up until now.

It would also be correct to say what you suggested, though. There are many cases where both forms can be used and sometimes there's not even a big difference in meaning between them. Other times, only one is really correct.

This particular grammar point is one that takes time to learn well. I would suggest that you pay special attention for the present perfect in the texts you read and listen to so that you can analyse how it is used in them. Gradually, it will make more and more sense.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gloria Pérez on Sun, 27/09/2020 - 00:26

Although with some delay Peter, just to thank you for your second explanation on the use of for and over. Now I can say that I did understand the difference ;-)!

Submitted by emmanuelniyomugabo12 on Fri, 25/09/2020 - 23:12

That's I think we can proceed the course.

Submitted by Abdul Mukit on Tue, 15/09/2020 - 15:37

1)Who ate all my biscuits? Or, 2.Who has eaten all my biscuits? Which sentence is correct and why?