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 (57 votes)

Hi inci.yildirim,

The phrase "when you were in New York" locates the action at a finished time in the past, so the past simple is best. 

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Submitted by inci.yildirim on Sat, 15/07/2023 - 21:54

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in grammer test 1 question 3,
why we can not use 'have you had'?
In examples there is sentences such like "How long have you had that phone?"
Can you please explain? Thank you so much.

Hello inci.yildirim,

The person has a new car which we understand to mean that they no longer have the old car. Thus, having the old car is an example of finished time. We would use 'How long have you had...?' for something the person still has, not something they have lost or got rid of.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mr.rm.6656 on Sat, 01/07/2023 - 02:14

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Hi my beloved teachers. Is it possible to use Since and Ago simultaneously in a single sentence? An example for this would be “ I have driven my car since three days ago” Thanks a lot for a remarkable service.

Hi mr.rm.6656,

I can't think of an example (including yours) which sounds acceptable to my ear. You may find some examples in literature but these would largely be affectations for stylistic purposes.

You can find a short discussion on the topic here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ridhi on Fri, 30/06/2023 - 02:04

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Dear Sir,

Could you please help me correct this few introductory lines . Basically,here I intend to speak about the hometown where I don't live anymore but my parents do and I often visit them ,my academic degrees and work experiences.present perfect or simple past.

Would it be wrong to continue talking about that place and what we have achieved there in present perfect without mentioning any specific time

I have been living in Delhi for 7 years now,but that's not my hometown.My hometown is Nagpur, as I have lived there most of my life.I completed (have completed) my graduation in 2011 and thereafter worked for a few banks as service manager,later got married and shifted to Delhi.

Thank you!

Hello ridge,

Your speech is fine - well done. You should use 'completed' (past simple) for your graduation as it is in a finished time period (2011).

Where you talk about things that are still true (unfinished past) you should use present perfect; for completed events in a past time context you should use the past simple.

Good luck!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Thu, 22/06/2023 - 08:42

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Hello Team. Could you please help me? Is the following sentence correct using "have had"?
- Doctors keep the health records of all their patients, so they know what illnesses they have had in the past.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Yes, that's correct. You could even omit 'in the past', since the present perfect makes this clear. But it's fine to include it as well.

All the best,
Kirk
LearnEnglish team