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

Do you need to improve your English grammar?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English grammar with our online courses.
Average: 5 (2 votes)

Submitted by Kapil Kabir on Mon, 28/06/2021 - 18:00

Permalink
Hello sir, "Farmers like Baburao Tadas in India are praying for normal monsoon rains after their incomes were hit by erratic weather and lower crop prices over the past few years. Sir, I want to ask a question regarding the use of 'past/next/last' words when they follow Article 'the'. I read a blog of yours on the same website where a teacher explained the use of last/next with article 'the' when they follow it. In the blog, The teacher said "If article 'the' precedes these word we have to use present perfect tense." But in the question above mentioned, past tense is used, i want to ask you Whether is Simple Past Tense correct here or Present Prefect should be there instead of Simple Past? Please elaborate it.

Hello Kapil Kabir,

It's difficult to make generalizations about grammar, and especially without specific examples in context. To me the general rule of using the present perfect sounds correct, but this is not to say that it's always the only possible form. 

I'm afraid I can't explain the sentence you ask about. I don't think I'd say 'the past few years' -- instead I'd probably say 'in recent years'. I wouldn't say the sentence is wrong, but I'd suggest changing that last part.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kapil Kabir on Sun, 27/06/2021 - 04:14

Permalink
Hi, Sir I'm facing a problem with the a specific structure of "OF". When it comes before the Noun Phrases. There are so many structures of "OF" with noun phrases. While I was reading a newspaper, I came by it. The sentence is The first image was of the more distant one. I want to know when 'of' precedes 'be' verb, what it means to us. I'm not dawning on the meaning what it is conveying. Please elaborate it.
Profile picture for user Kirk

Submitted by Kirk on Sun, 27/06/2021 - 14:52

In reply to by Kapil Kabir

Permalink

Hello Kapil Kabir,

It looks to me as if some words have been omitted from the sentence you ask about. I'd need to know the context to give you an exact answer, but it sounds as if the text this sentence is from probably discusses two or more images before this sentence -- for example, maybe it's two images of two comets, one of which is relatively close and the other is further away.

The sentence you ask about indicates that it's talking about the more distant comet, which is represented in the first image. In other words, it's another form of 'The first image was [a photograph] of the more distant [comet].'

Hope this helps you make sense of it. 

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kapil Kabir on Mon, 21/06/2021 - 04:11

Permalink
Hello sir, I have a doubt regarding 'it' While I was reading a book, I came by a sentence The sentence is.... 1) Now, I realised that it was not 'he' but this man who was making a mistake. Sir, I want to ask about "he". As far as I know 'it' is a dummy subject here. Then why do we need 'he' which is a subjective case. Should it be in objective case 'him'. If we use it in subjective form there are two subjects that spoil the subject- verb consistency. I read so many sentences in which 'it' is a subject and objective form of pronoun is used. The another question that I want to ask is that we can use both form of the pronoun after 'it' when it works as a dummy subject in the sentence. Please elaborate it. Please Elaborate it.
Profile picture for user Jonathan R

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

In reply to by Kapil Kabir

Permalink

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

Permalink
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