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

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Average: 5 (3 votes)
Profile picture for user Jonathan R

Submitted by Jonathan R on Mon, 21/06/2021 - 05:09

In reply to by Kapil Kabir

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Hi Kapil Kabir,

Yes! It's just a question of style.

In traditional grammar, the nominative case is used after a copula verb (e.g. It was not he. / It is I. / (on the phone) Is Jane there? And Jane answers: This is she). However, this is considered very formal in modern English, and the use of the objective case is common and accepted instead (e.g. It was not him / It's me / This is her).

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, I have also a doubt regarding Present continuous tense and Adverb of frequency. When Adverb od frequency is used with Continuous tense. I have some examples. 1) He was always making trouble among his neighbors. ) He was often making trouble among his neighbors. In the 1st question 'always' is used to show that he does it 'very often'. But the second one I'm not getting what "often" means here. Please elaborate it also. What does 'often mean here as ' Always means 'very often' when it is used in present continuous tense.

Hi Kapil Kabir,

There are two things to note here.

  • Often means the action happens frequently or many times, but less frequently than always. It is still a relatively high frequency.
  • Always literally means 'all the time' (i.e. 100% of the time). So, people often use it to exaggerate the situation, especially when they are complaining about something. Sentence 1 sounds like this. Sentence 2 sounds like a more factual (i.e. less exaggerated) description, and it might be used when somebody is just describing the situation rather than complaining about it.

I hope that helps. If you have more questions about adverbs of frequency, it would be good to put them on our page on How often. We can continue the discussion there if needed :)

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by JIE LI on Sun, 30/05/2021 - 23:04

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He loves animal,she__a pet. Why the answer is 'v never had Not never had. Can you explain it for me?a little confuse.Thank you.

Hi JIE LI,

If you say she's never had a pet (present perfect), it refers to an unfinished time period. That means, she still has the opportunity to get a pet now.

 

If you say she never had a pet (past simple), it is also grammatically possible, but the meaning is different. It refers to a finished time period. For example:

  • She never had a pet when she was a child. (She is not a child now - that time is finished.)
  • She never had a pet when she lived in London. (She does not live in London now - that time is finished.)

We don't have any information that the time period is finished, so we can assume that the time period continues to the present moment (i.e., it is unfinished).

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by JIE LI on Tue, 01/06/2021 - 15:09

In reply to by Jonathan R

Permalink
Yes,It does make sense. I am very appreciate for your help.

Submitted by Kapil Kabir on Sun, 30/05/2021 - 05:51

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Hello Sir. I have a doubt regarding a question. The question is The Primary mission of this scheme is to deliver loans up to one million to micro-enterprises which ""(was performed/ by performed / by the performed)"" by NSSO in 2013 were 5.77 million in number." Which one is suitable for this sentence, Sir?
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 30/05/2021 - 10:18

In reply to by Kapil Kabir

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Hello Kapil Kabir,

None of those are correct. There are problems with singular/plural consistency and with subject-verb logical agreement. You could form the statement like this, however:

The Primary mission of this scheme is to deliver loans of up to one million (dollars?) to micro-enterprises. The number of loans delivered by NSSO in 2013 was 5.77 million.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kapil Kabir on Sat, 01/05/2021 - 04:48

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Hello Sir, I often find difficulties whenever I meet with such kind of questions.... 1) It is high time that we learn English. 1) It is high time that we learnt English. Which one is correct. And I have a another question. Can we use, Always, in present perfect tense. Like we use it in present and past continuous with a meaning " very often" in the sentence. 1) I always help him. 2) I am always helping him.( With a meaning of "very often") 3) I have always helped him. Which one correct Sir. And Hope You all are safe in this pandemic. Please elaborate these..
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 02/05/2021 - 08:23

In reply to by Kapil Kabir

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Hello Kapil Kabir,

With the phrase 'it's (high/about) time...' we can use a past form (learnt) or a to-infinitive. We don't use use a present form.

You can read more about this here:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/it-s-time

 

'Always' means every time or without exception. However, it can be used to mean very often as a form of exaggeration. All three of your examples are correct. The second suggests the speaker finds the situation a little irritating or exasperating.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team