The present perfect is formed from the present tense of the verb have and the past participle of a verb:

The present perfect continuous is formed with have/has been and the -ing form of the verb:

Use

We use the present perfect tense:

  • 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.

Note: We normally use the present perfect continuous for this:

She has been living in Liverpool all her life.
It’s been raining for hours.

  •  for something we have done several times in the past and continue to do:

I’ve played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
He has written three books and he is working on another one.
I’ve been watching that programme every week.

We often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:

They’ve been staying with us since last week.
I have worked here since I left school.
I’ve been watching that programme every week since it started.

  • when we are talking about our experience up to the present:


Note: 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.

Note: and we use never for the negative form:

Have you ever met George?
Yes, but I’ve never met his wife.

  • for something that happened in the past but is important at the time of speaking:

I can’t get in the house. I’ve lost my keys.
Teresa isn’t at home. I think she has gone shopping.
I’m tired out. I’ve been working all day.

 

 We use the present perfect of be 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 is Maria? I haven’t seen her for weeks.
B: She's gone to Paris for a week. She’ll be back tomorrow.

We often use the present perfect with time adverbials which refer to the recent past:

just; only just; recently;

Scientists have recently discovered a new breed of monkey.
We have just got back from our holidays.

or adverbials which include the present:

ever (in questions); so far; until now; up to now; yet (in questions and negatives)

Have you ever seen a ghost?
Where have you been up to now?
Have you finished your homework yet?
No, so far I’ve only done my history.

WARNING:

We do not use the present perfect with an adverbial which refers to past time which is finished:

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 it to refer to a time which is not yet finished:

Have you seen Helen today?
We have bought a new car this week.

   

Exercise

Comments

Hi,

I have a family
I have got a family

need clariifcation on
the difference
what are the possible instances where we can use above examples seperately?

Thanks

Hi Nisala Jayasuriya,

There is no difference in meaning between the two sentences you ask about -- 'have' and 'have got' mean the same thing, though there are some cases where 'have got' can not be used. Please see this page for a more detailed explanation. If you have any other questions, please let us know.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
Could you guys please answer me a question. Is this sentence correct?
It feel as tough I had been reading this book forever and I'm only on page 100.
Thanks.

Hi Jamm,

Your sentence is almost correct! You just need to change it to 'It feels as though I have been reading ...' (the rest is correct).

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I’d like to ask which one is correct:
Since Martha left the country a year ago, she (has/had) called her friends several times.
Thank you in advance.

Hi Callista,

The word 'ago' in the first clause of this sentence establishes a reference point in the present -- in other words, it suggests that Martha is here now. Therefore the verb in the second clause should be 'has called'.

If the first clause had a past reference point (e.g. 'Since Marth had left the country'), then the past perfect form 'had called' would be the correct one.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please tell me whether both these sentences are correct or only the present perfect one.
Hi. after a very long time. Where have you been? / Where were you?
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hi Lal,

The present perfect form is more common, as presumably you've just now seen the person you ask this question. The past simple version, however, is not incorrect; it could, for example, show that the speaker sees the person's absence as a past event with little connection to now.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, thank you for your explanation. In your article, you mentioned that 'We often use the present perfect with time adverbials which refer to the recent past: just; only just; recently'. But how would you describe a past job experience? Do you write " My most recent experience as a manager had been at XX Company" or " My most recent experience as a manager has been at XX Company"? It has "recent" in the sentence but it is adj. Note: I am not working in that company anymore. I quit last month. Thank you!

Hi lenalee,

While both present perfect (as there is a present result) and past simple (as the action took place in a finished time period) are grammatically and semantically possible here, the normal choice would be past simple to emphasise that you no longer hold the position.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Pages