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

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Present perfect 2

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  • 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

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Present perfect 4

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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

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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

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Present perfect with time adverbials 2

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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

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Present perfect and past simple 2

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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

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Present perfect continuous 2

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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.

Average
Average: 4.3 (178 votes)

Hi LitteBlueGreat,

If you say the sentences without any time reference (without 'for' or 'since', for example) then it tells us about your life experience. You can imagine listing achievements in a CV: I have had several jobs. I have been a project manager, I have been a consultant and I have been a software engineer. Note that you may or may not still be any of these things; the sentence by itself does not make this clear.

If you include a time phrase such as 'for ten years' or 'since 2015' then it tells us about something that began in the past and continues into the present.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kay0129 on Sat, 01/04/2023 - 10:34

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Hello everyone, I have a question.

According to 'We use present perfect when we are talking about our experience up to the present' and the example ‘I’ve seen that film before.’ If I say ‘I’ve seen that film when I was a child’ does this sentence still correct?
The example (When we were children we have been to California.) in ‘We do not use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to a finished past time’ shows that we don’t use present perfect with past time adverbials. Does it correct If I say ‘We have been to California before’ instead of ‘When we were children we have been to California’ ? Why can’t we consider the sentence ‘When we were children we have been to California’ as an experience up to present?

Hi Kay0129,

No, I’ve seen that film when I was a child isn't considered correct. "When I was a child" refers to a finished past time. Other examples of finished past time references are last year and in 2018, and these are not usually used with the present perfect.

But it is fine to say We have been to California before, because "before" refers to a period of time lasting until the present moment (i.e., an unfinished past time). The sentence When we were children we have been to California isn't an experience up to the present, because "when we were children" is a finished time in the past. It locates the action (going to California) in the past, so it doesn't go with the present perfect.

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

hi Kay0129

The sentence "I've seen that film when I was a child" is not grammatically correct because the adverbial phrase "when I was a child" refers to a specific finished past time. In this case, the past simple tense should be used instead of the present perfect tense. The correct sentence would be "I saw that film when I was a child."

The sentence "We have been to California before" is grammatically correct because the adverbial "before" is not a specific finished past time, but rather a general reference to a time that occurred before now. This is an acceptable usage of the present perfect tense.

The sentence "When we were children we have been to California" is not grammatically correct because it uses the present perfect tense with an adverbial phrase that refers to a specific finished past time. The sentence implies that the experience of going to California is ongoing, which is not the case. It would be more appropriate to say "When we were children, we went to California."

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Submitted by khaledAl5 on Wed, 15/03/2023 - 21:14

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Hello everyone!
According to present perfect, we use it for past actions with a result in present.
So, I saw an example here says” Extremists have reached/ seized power in this country. You replied that past simple is more appropriate. But here, there is a result! Now they are running the country. I know that the verbs (reach and seize) occur at a particular moment, but here the focus is on the result that they maybe enact new laws and so on.

Thanks in advance.

Hello khaled,

In his comment, Peter was talking about a situation when the extremists had seized power 30 years earlier. It would be very odd to use the present perfect in a situation like this.

If, on the other hand, the extremists just seized power last and someone were reporting this in the news, the present perfect would be appropriate. We often use the present perfect to report the news because it suggests a change that is affecting the present.

It's a matter of how we conceive of the connection between past actions and the present. One could argue that everything that has ever happened is connected to the present (and I'd agree with this idea!), but language use is not so precise and doesn't consider all of history. We use it in a particular moment for a particular purpose, not to provide a scientific account.

Hope this makes sense.

All the best,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team

Thank you so much for your response.
I just want to ask about short and long action verbs when we use them in present perfect simple.

For example;

I have opened the door since 2:00 pm. Up to now.
I have opened the door since 2:00 pm. Result in present (it’s still open)

the verb open is a short verb, so, can I use this verb or other short verbs (to be precise, the verbs that occur at a particular moment)
to mean that this action happened and still continues? Or we consider it as an action that happened in the past with result in present?

And I think that the negative form of these actions is acceptable when we use them to mean that the action hasn’t happened until now.

For example:

I haven’t started my trip since Sunday. Up to now

But in positive, I feel it’s not acceptable…
I have started my trip since Sunday. Up to now

So I am confused about this kind of verbs. Do I consider them verbs that continue up to now OR finished verbs with result in present?

Hi khaled,

I'm afraid I don't know what to say. None of the example sentences you give sound correct to me. 

Perhaps you could say 'I have been opening the door since 2.00' in a very particular situation -- for example, if you're a doorman and open and close the door for guests at a hotel; or if it's a door that for some reason takes 12 hours to open -- but in general opening a door is an action that you perform in a moment and it's done. How can you be doing it since 2.00? 

All the best,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team

I know but the point that I want is:
For example: when I say that “I have opened the door” I mean that the door is open now, so, the guests can enter the hall. (it’s a past action with a result in present)

Another example: “I have started a new training course” I mean that I will not be free to go with my friends or do things I used to do before this course.(it’s a past action with a result in present)

Thank you for your patience and your help to improve learners of English language.

Hello khaledAl5,

Yes, that's right. That's how I would understand those sentences in those contexts. Of course, other interpretations are possible depending on the context: the first sentence could mean that you've opened the door so your friend does not need to do it, or that you have opened the door so you no longer need the key etc. All of these, as you say, express present results of past actions.

Present results like this represent changes in the world which are news to the listener; what that information means exactly to the listener is the context-dependent part

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there. You could say "I opened the door at 2 pm" - it was a single action that has finished (past simple). But you might have shut the door again - we don't know. The notes remind us that we don't use the present perfect simple after a time adverbial - for example, yesterday. 2 pm is in the past in the same way that yesterday is in the past.

You could also say "The door has been open since 2 pm." This uses the present perfect because it was an action that happened in the past (the door was opened/you opened it) but the effect of the action is still true - the door is still open now. This uses the passive so that the focus is on the door and not who opened it.

On the trip sentences, I would say "I didn't start my trip on Sunday and I still haven't started it (until now)." Perhaps it is the word 'since' that is confusing? We usually use present perfect continuous after since because it describes an ongoing action that started in the past and is still continuing.

I don't know whether these thoughts will help you. I hope so :) Good luck with your English studies.

Submitted by TommyHoang on Wed, 08/03/2023 - 16:31

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"Could I borrow that book some time? It looks really interesting.
Sure, you can borrow it now, I have finished it."

=> Has he finished reading the book yet?
Can we say "I fishined it" ?

Hello TommyHoang,

It's possible to say both 'I finished it' and 'I've finished it', but they can mean slightly different things depending on the situation. The main point is when you finished reading the book. If it was some time ago, then 'I finished it' would be more natural. 

But if you've been reading it recently and recently finished it, 'I've finished it' would probably be better.

Best wishes,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by englishlearnin… on Mon, 09/01/2023 - 23:52

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Hello
Could you please explain this? I was in an office so i couldn’t see outside. then i left the building and i saw wet pavement. Can i say ‘has it rained?’ Or ‘Did it rain?’
I’m little confused.
Thank you!

Hi englishlearningenglish,

Good question. The present perfect ("Has it rained?") would be more commonly used in British English, and the past simple ("Did it rain?") would be more common in American English, but both would be acceptable in both language varieties :)

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by endy23 on Tue, 13/12/2022 - 09:18

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Hello, I’m looking for a hep with these please:

Example:
Yesterday someone asked for my number and this morning I’ve spoken to friend and said; „She has asked for my number, she needs to contact me first.”
Or should I just say: „ She asked for my number, she needs to contact me first.”
And if the present perfect tense is correct, could you please explain me what’s the connection with the present etc..

Example 2:
Let’s say it’s still morning and I’ve just got to a place I was driving to and the security at the property says: „You don’t have any wheels?” I say: „No, I haven’t taken any.” Or should I again just say: „No, I didn’t take any.” And if the present perfect tense is correct, how does that affect the present or what’s the connection here. Sorry I’m just confused with these because I know that even some British people use any of these interchangeably and it just confuses me. I really want to understand the difference.

And if I may one more..

She says: „ I think our managers may by trying to set us up.”
I say: „Yes, I’ve heard something.” Or should I just say: „Yes, I heard something.” And again.. why?

I’m sorry, I know these might be similar examples but I’m just not sure when to use these and it’s just embarrassing for me.. because even when I watch videos online, at the end of it some people say: „ I hope you have enjoyed this video ( I believe that’s because the event just finished - but even now shouldn’t I say I believe that’s because the event has just finished?) and others would say: „ I hope you enjoyed this video.” But why?
Also I’m so sorry but very last one:

I broke my hand in the past and went to a doctor. While the hand was healing I accidentally fell off and after a month spoke to a doctor again and wanted to say that I think I actually made it worse.
But what should I have said at the doctor?
„I think I have made it worse.”
Or just „I think I made it worse.”

Sorry again for long message but your answer would make it just much more clearer to me.

Thank you for your time and any response you can give me.

Andreas

Hi Andreas,

I'll try to explain. In short, I think all of these answers are acceptable, the present perfect ones and the past simple ones too (with the possible exception of example 2 - see below).

The present perfect indicates a connection to the present, as you say. That's why it's often used when somebody introduces a new topic into the conversation. It shows that the new topic that the speaker is introducing has relevance to the current or existing topic. So, if you say She has asked for my number, it might be because you and the listener were talking about her just before (i.e. the current topic is "her"), and then you introduce this new topic (her asking for your number). The present perfect shows that this new topic is relevant to the current one. If you say I think I have made it worse, it might be because the current topic of conversation is your injury, and you are introducing a new topic (how you made the injury worse) and want to show the listener that it's relevant to the current topic.

The past simple locates the action in the past, outside the present timeframe. So, you might use this when you want to shift the focus away from the present and more onto the past action. For example, you might say She asked for my number when I saw her yesterday. Here, the sentence gives more detail about that past action. Or you might say I think I made it worse by .... and then explain more details about what you did, using more past simple verbs. These extra past details are not essential, however. Somebody might simply say I think I made it worse because although that's a past action in a past timeframe, the relevance to the present topic of "your injury" is fairly obvious (considering the context of the conversation and the fact that "it" must refer to something else that was just mentioned). Unlike the present perfect, though, the past simple does not grammatically show the relevance.

Another thing to be aware of is that many speakers use the past simple form with the 'relevance to the present' meaning that is typically associated with the present perfect. This is especially common in American English but it is also found in British English and other language varieties.

In summary, then, this isn't a situation where one form is correct and the other is incorrect. There isn't a simple answer here because whether you choose the present perfect or past simple depends on several things: the relationship with the conversation topic, what else is said before and afterwards, and which variety of English you are using. But you can rest assured that whether using present perfect or past simple, the intended meaning in all the examples above is clear.

(The one exception might be example 2, where your answer is a direct response to the security guard's question, so I would perhaps prefer to use present perfect to connect my answer more clearly to the present timeframe used in the question.)

Sorry for the long answer but I hope that somehow helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Jonathan,

thank you very much for your answer. It has helped me. (I hope the present perfect tense is the right to choose here). So it means, that if it’s not completely out of context, then it’s up to the speaker if decides (in his mind before bringing new topic) whether the „new topic” is relevant to the current one, could we put it this way?

For example (if I may again please)
I’m speaking with my landlord about heating that might have broken down and it’s not warm enough. He starts to show me degrees on the heating and talk about it.

In my head I’m thinking that I would like to let him know, that once we had the heating on all day. What should I use here? Can I say: „Once, we’ve had the heating on all day.” Or just again past simple: „Once we had the heating on all day.”

Is it okay if I leave one more example here please…

And then… if I’m driving at 6am to a place where I meet some people. Then driving back and around 8am I speak with my manager and she asks me who was there when I got there, what is here the correct answer to say considering that the people (and me and my manager know that) are still there at the time she asks me?

Sorry about that, I know you have already explained it to me but the more examples I understand the clearer everything will be for me.

Thank you again for any response to this

Have a great day

Andreas

Hi Andreas,

No problem. Yes, exactly - the relevance is something that is perceived by the speaker. The speaker may show this relevance to the listener in a grammatical way, by using the present perfect. But as mentioned in the previous comment, there are other ways to show relevance too (e.g. by using reference words, or simply by saying something in close proximity to something else).

In the heating situation, I think the present perfect is acceptable but I would prefer the past simple version here, because it includes the word "once", which locates the action in a past timeframe.

I'm not sure if I understood the second situation correctly, but I would use the past simple (e.g. James and Lisa were there), as she asked who was there when you got there (i.e. a past time). Even if the people are still in that place now, it doesn't affect the structure because the manager is asking about that particular past moment.

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Jonathan,

thank you again. I just got confused with one sentence I just saw.

„All dogs we’ve had were like friends to me.”

Is possible to say it this way? What I feel from it is that all dogs they have had (so far) were like a friend to him but they don’t live anymore so he doesn’t have any dog at the moment but might have in the future that’s why „we have had.”

Thank you for your time

Andreas

Hello endy23,

You're quite right. The present perfect ('have had') is used here because the speaker is still alive and may in the future have more dogs. In effect the present perfect here contains the meaning 'so far' or 'up to now'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by JameK on Thu, 01/12/2022 - 10:37

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Sir, Is there a difference in that two sentences.
I have a sister.
I have got a sister.
Do they mean the same? Could you explain me Sir, please. Thanks in advance.

Hi JameK,

Yes, they mean the same thing. But "have got" is a bit more commonly used in British English than in American English.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Liam_Kurt on Tue, 22/11/2022 - 13:46

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Hello, I have been thinking about this sentence for a long time.
"Every time I visit him he has been playing with his toys"
The grammar book says that each action of playing toys is before each action of visiting him. So, first the boy would play with his toys then I would visit him while he either has stopped playing or is still playing.
From what I understand of the present perfect continuous it is used when an action from the past continues to the present. In this sentence is it not continuing to each time of visiting him instead of the present so shouldn't the past perfect be used?

Hello Liam_Kurt,

I hesitate to say this without knowing more about your grammar book's explanation, but I wouldn't say this sentence is correct in most situations. In a very specific situation -- e.g. you regularly visit a boy and on each visit you see his toys on the floor (suggesting he's played with them) but he's not playing with them at the moment and all of these details are important to your point -- it could work, but I can't imagine any others. Perhaps that says more about my poor imagination; I'm not sure. 

If these precise details are not important, then 'Every time I visit him he's playing with his toys' is far more likely. The present continuous could mean that you see him actually playing with the toys every time, but it doesn't necessarily mean this -- it could be just that you see evidence of him having played with the toys quite recently.

We have a page on the Present perfect continuous and simple if you'd like to read more and have a bit more practice of this grammar point.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Amir.h__760__ on Thu, 20/10/2022 - 18:46

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Hello team support
Is this sentence grammatically correct:
Extremists have reached power in this country and have implemented this strict rule.
( they reached power about 30 years ago but they are still in power and also That rule exists) so tell me in this. (I don't wanna mention the time.) circumstance; is it true to say that?
Best regards

Hello  Amir.h__760__,

I think the past simple is more appropriate here as 'reach' and 'implement' are things which occur at a particular moment. After that, power is held and the rule is maintained. Thus, you could say either of these:

Extremists reached/took/seized power in this country and implemented/brought in/imposed this strict rule.

 

 

I'm loathe to suggest sentences here, to be honest, as without knowing the context in which they will be used it's really a guess and I may suggest something that does not fit. It could be that a present simple form is better (...hold power...), for example. Without knowing the context it's impossible to say.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again
Thank you for responding mate,but I'm still confused about why past simple? Because they are still in power; their governing have not ended yet.
Best regards

Hello Amir,

It's because of the nature of the actions these verbs talk about. We 'reach power' and 'implement a rule' in a relatively short amount of time; it could be in a few seconds or over several months, but in general these are not activities that continue over time. In contrast, we can say that then power is held over a length of time, or a rule is in force for a length of time, but the actions that 'hold' and 'be in force' refer to are different -- they speak about duration in a different way than 'reach power' or 'implement a rule'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again

Thank you, I got it completely.

There is a another question. Last night I was watching the lord of the rings, and something was paid my attention.

It goes like this:
That line was broken
But it has been remade

Why present perfect here? Here is a link to that part of movie. ----

Hello Amir,

Yes, I'm familiar with that scene! The King of the Dead is referring to Isildur's bloodline, which everyone except for a handful of people believed had been extinguished. This is why he uses a past simple form.

Aragorn, who is the last in Isildur's bloodline, is living proof that the line is in fact not broken. He is alive now and the present perfect form shows his connection with the line. He himself is the living connection between past and present.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ilovekeerthysu… on Sun, 02/10/2022 - 09:44

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Can the below sentences be used as example for present prefect tense
I have just listened to the music and started writing a book
I have completed playing games and now studying for the exams.

Hi ilovekeerthysuresh1992,

The present perfect in the first sentence is correctly written. (In general, though, it would be "listened to music", unless you and the listener are talking about a specific piece of music.)

In the second sentence, "I have completed playing games" is correctly written, though "finished" may be a better word than "completed" here. Also, it should be "I am now studying".

I hope that helps!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Faii on Wed, 07/09/2022 - 16:53

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It says in my grammar book,"A present tense with for refers to duration into the future "
So is it correct to say -"I'm in Italy for three days"?Would there be any difference if I used " I'll be in Italy for three days?"
Thanks in advance

Hello Faii,

Both of the sentences you ask about are grammatically correct and in some cases you could use either one and it would be appropriate. It really depends on the situation and what you want to say.

Our Talking about the future page explains the ways we use different tenses to refer to different actions in the future.

Perhaps I've misunderstood what your book is explaining, but I'm not sure I agree with that statement. For example, you can use 'for' with a present perfect form to refer to the recent past and present, e.g. 'I've lived her for 10 years'.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by melvinthio on Wed, 07/09/2022 - 09:43

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Hi Jonathan,
I quote the following two sentences from my grammar books:

[1a] I've gone to concerts ever since I've lived in London.

[2a] I haven't been to the theater for ages.

Question :
What are the differences between the above sentences with the following sentences respectively ?

[1b] I've been to concerts ever since I've lived in London.

[2b] I haven't gone to the theater for ages.

Your detailed explanation would be highly appreciated.

Best regards,

Hello melvinthio,

I expect you're familiar with the idea that the present perfect of 'be' can be used to mean we have gone to a place and returned from it. For example, 'Have you ever been to Norway?' is a question about whether someone has gone there in their life or not; right now, the speaker and that person are not in Norway, so it's obvious that the person has returned from any trip to Norway they may have made.

Similarly, if someone calls my house and asks if Núria is home, I can say 'No, I'm afraid she's gone out' to mean she left some time ago and isn't back yet; saying 'No, I'm afraid she's been out' would not be correct in this case, as it suggests she has already come home.

To my eyes, and without knowing the situation or intentions of the speaker, sentences 1a and 1b are both situations in which the speaker is not currently at a concert. In a situation such as this one, there's no real difference in meaning between them.

The same is true of sentences 2a and 2b.

As you can, the grammar by itself doesn't make meaning; it has to be deployed in an appropriate situation for it to work.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Tue, 30/08/2022 - 19:24

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Hello. Could you please help me? Is the following sentence grammatically correct using "a few days" with "has gone to"?

- You can't see Tom before Wednesday. He has gone to London for a few days on business.

Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Yes, that sentence is fine. It tells us that Tom has already left and that his trip has not finished yet. Well done!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by MohamedMosta on Sat, 23/07/2022 - 19:27

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Hello Sir,
First, I am very sorry for my repeated questions, but these tenses really make me very confused.
I read the page you mentioned and I found it very helpful, but I have more questions that will determine if I fully understand or still not.
1- Which is correct?
I have waited 3 hours already.{Does it mean that it is a completed action that I waited, but now I am with who I came to see}Or{I have been waiting 3 hours already. {Is it means that I am still waiting?}}
2- I have been planting flowers all day so the garden looks amazing.
In this example, using the present perfect continuous we are focusing on the effort which makes the garden different.{I see from his look that he worked all day, whether I saw the garden or not}
I have planted flowers all day so the garden looks amazing.
In this one we focus on the result I see now what the garden has become
Another example from that page {the grass looks wet. Has it been raining?}
By using the present perfect continuous tense we are focused on the action itself which is raining
The grass looks wet. Has it rained? Here on the result. Is it right or not?
3- when we numbered something we use present perfect simple like{I have drunk 4 cups of coffee this day not I have been drinking 4 cups of coffee this day} is that right?
Finally, I read this example and I want to know if it is right?
She has finished the report since two weeks ago. {Is it finished or unfinished period of time?}

Hi AboWasel,

No problem. I'll try to answer your questions :)

1. Yes, the meanings of both sentences are as you explained.

2. I think you've generally got the right idea. But the idea of seeing evidence of the recent activity is associated with the present perfect continuous.

Also, if a speaker wants to put the focus on something, grammar is one way to do that - but it isn't the only way. There may also be changes in vocabulary, word order, the content of the sentence, voice stress (for example), together with grammar, so that the speaker's focus is clear. For instance, in the example "The grass looks wet. Has it rained?" Yes, it's possible that the speaker wants to focus on the result here. But asking the question at the end seems to take the focus away from the result ("the grass looks wet"). If the speaker wants to focus on the result, it would be clearer if the sentences are reversed, for example: "Has it rained? The grass looks wet." That way, the result gains more focus because it is at the end. It seems like it's the main topic.

So, if you change the present perfect continuous to present perfect simple in a sentence (or vice versa), the difference in meaning/focus may be quite subtle. You may find clearer examples if you look for examples in context (i.e., in full texts).

3. Yes, that's right. Let me add some corrections for the final sentence.

  • If you state the time when an action was done (e.g. "two weeks ago"), the past simple is normally used (not present perfect).
  • "Since" is normally used with a named time (e.g. since Monday), not with "ago" phrases, and it shows something happening from that time until now. However, she finished the report on one day. She didn't finish it continuously from then until now.

So, it should be --> She finished the report two weeks ago.

I hope that helps!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much.
I learn a lot from this amazing site and your helpful answers.
Based on what you explained in the last example in number 3 I understand that {since/for} doesn't combine with any finished words such as {yesterday/ago/last/once...}

Hi AboWasel,

Actually that's not quite the idea. "Since" and "for" are a bit different.

  • "Since" is used with a named time (e.g. since yesterday, since 1985, since last week, since 11 o'clock). "Since" means from then until now.
  • "For" is used with a period of time (e.g. for three years, for several hours, for a long time). "For" just shows the length of time. Unlike "since", it doesn't show when the time period actually started or finished. It does not need to be a time period that continues until now (e.g., "I lived in New York for three years in the 1990s." - a period of three years that was in the past.)

I hope that helps!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, Sir
You got me wrong. What I meant was using {since/for} with {last/once/yesterday/ago} with present perfect not generally.
I think I can use since with last in the present perfect. Right?

Hi AboWasel,

We can use "since" and "for" with the present perfect, e.g.:

  • I've lived in London for one year. / I've lived in London since 2021. / I've lived in London since last year.
  • I've been studying hard since yesterday.
  • I've been studying hard for hours.

"Since" and "for" can't be used with "once". "Since ... ago" is grammatically possible (e.g. since two years ago), but it's more common to say it in another way (e.g. since 2020 / for two years).

"Last", "yesterday" and "ago" can be used with the past simple as well. "Once" can only be used with the past simple, not present perfect.

  • I lived in London last year.
  • I studied hard yesterday.
  • I studied hard many years ago.
  • I studied hard once.

Sorry, the question wasn't clear for me but I hope that helps to answer it.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by MohamedMosta on Fri, 22/07/2022 - 17:22

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Hello Sir,
I have a question about the difference between present perfect simple and present perfect continuous for example..
Recenrly, i have written 3 books.
Recently, I have been writing 3 books.
please, can you explain it for me in a simple way?
Thanks.