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: 4.1 (60 votes)

Hello again,

Yes, that's exactly what I said:

the activity continued up to the moment of arrival (effectively, up to the moment of speaking)

The past simple would be used if, for example, we did not go to the meeting and then later - the next day, for example - wanted to apologise.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Khangvo2812 on Sat, 27/01/2024 - 07:38


Could you check this sentence for me please?
There has been 75 cases of flu in total until now.

Hello Khangvo2812,

Could you please ask more specific questions? We're happy to help with questions related to the content on our website, but we're not a proofreading service! 

In other words, what part of the sentence are you not sure about?

Please keep this in mind for any future questions you might have.

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team

Hello Khangvo2812,

Thank you for being more specific.

Yes, the present perfect works here. Note that since 'cases' is plural, it should be 'have' instead of 'has'.

In informal speaking people often say 'has', but really 'have' is correct here.

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Khangvo2812 on Thu, 25/01/2024 - 14:30


Could you check these sentences for me please in term of grammar?
Is the response suitable for the question?
Why has she left?
She has left to cook dinner for her family.

Hello Khangvo2812,

The grammar in those sentences looks good to me.

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by HLH on Thu, 25/01/2024 - 09:21


Hello team
I've waited you for an hour

Does this mean it happened or is it still happening?
It means I waited you one hour ago OR I've been waiting you for an hour

Hello HLH,

We don't use the present perfect simple here.

If the waiting is completely in the past -- in other words, I'm no longer waiting -- then we use a past simple form: 'I waited for you for an hour'.

If I'm still waiting now, we say 'I've been waiting for you for an hour'. We use the continuous form because it emphasizes that the action is still in progress (which is true for this situation); the present perfect simple form would emphasize completion (which is not true for this situation).

By the way, notice that we say 'wait for a person', not 'wait a person'.

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team