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

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Hello, thank you so much for the answer and explanation. What I thought was that the comment "I love it" suggests the result of an action and that made the example a little bit misleading . As I assume - it has no impact on the choice od Perfect because the purchase was done once and definitely in some past moment? Or is the sentence "I love it" of an importance anyway??? I'd love to hear explanation from you as a native speaker 🙂

Hello BeataBB,

You are right in thinking that saying 'I love it' brings some focus to the present moment and you are also right in thinking that it could be relevant. In this case, though, I would say that the connection between the action of the other person buying the jacket and your loving it isn't direct enough for the present perfect to make sense.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team

Hello Kirk Moore - I am absolutely grateful for your clear explanation and have no doubts about usage of Past Simple herę. Thanks and have a good day 🙂

Submitted by Khangvo2812 on Wed, 14/02/2024 - 06:16


Could I use present perfect in the sentence below?
In his football career, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more than 200 goals.
I think the answer is yes because he hasn’t retired yet.

Hello Khangvo2812,

Yes, you are right. In fact, since Ronaldo is still an active player, it would be incorrect, or at least very strange, to use a past simple form here.

As you say, the present perfect is the best form.

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by .Mariia on Tue, 13/02/2024 - 12:46


Could you please tell me if we can use present simple in following sentence
I don't think I want any dessert. I___too much to eat already. (HAVE)
a) I don't think I want any dessert. I have had too much to eat already.
b) I don't think I want any dessert. I have too much to eat already.

Hello .Mariia,

From the context here I think you need the present perfect as it describes a past action (eating) with a present result (not being hungry/being full). The second option would suggest you have too much on your plate already waiting to be eaten, but that would not really fit with the idea of whether or not you want the next course (dessert).



The LearnEnglish Tam

Submitted by Khangvo2812 on Fri, 09/02/2024 - 04:56


Does say I’ve made a lot of friends imply that it happened in the recent past or it mean it is an ongoing process?

Hello Khangvo2812,

It could mean either depending on the context. You could add 'recently' or 'already'/'so far' if you wanted to make either meaning explicit.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Khangvo2812 on Thu, 08/02/2024 - 18:05


Can I say I’ve enjoyed my trip to Da Nang when I want to say that I enjoyed my recent trip there?