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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.

Comments

sorry i meant "help" when i said "helo"

hello

I dont understand why "present perfect" talks about the past and mostly i confuse present perfect with past simple
i hope you can helo me

Joaquín Ratari

Hello Joaquin,

The present perfect is a present verb form. It tells us something about the present with reference to the past. For example:

I went to Spain in 2004. [a historical event]

I've been to Spain. [something that happened in the past that is relevant now - for example, because I can tell you about Spain, or I can speak Spanish, or I don't want to go there again]

 

The present perfect has a range of uses, as you can see on the page, but all of them are about connecting the past to the present in some way. If you have a particular example which confuses you then we'll be happy to comment, of course.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello

“The stakeholders observed that over the last 2 years, a new advancement in cutting-edge technological measures has increased the company’s profitability”
In the above sentence, why did we not use 'has been increasing the company’s profitability' since ‘over the last 2 years’ implies a length of time during which the profitability kept increasing i.e. it was an ongoing action over the last 2 years?

Thanks.

Hello ER,

Both the simple and continuous forms can be used here. The continuous form focuses on the process, while the simple form focuses on the result. Which form is used is really a choice for the speaker/writer.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir.

Hello Sir,
I am a bit confused understand the meaning of this sentence.

"Prior to talks, indian official had highlighted the key points of their agenda as having china withdraw from all friction points including Tso and granting unhindered access to all patrolling points."

I found this sentence in an editorial and
I didn't get the meaning of this sentence.
In my view, Here, 'as' was used in the same sense of 'When/While'.
But my teacher said to me " here, 'as' is used in the same sense of 'because' "
I think there is a condition before talks,
And also, past perfect is used ( " had highlighted"),
Past perfect is also used to show that something was wished.
In my view, the meaning of this sentence is
Indian official would have talked to chinese official if china had withdrawn from all friction points.......
It's an imaginary situation of past that didn't happen in present.
Please clarify sir....
:)

Hello Kapil Kabir,

This looks like non-standard English to me. But I suppose that 'as' could be an abbreviated form of 'such as' that is used to give examples. As I understand it, the past perfect emphasises that the key points were highlighted before the talks.

Please remember that, while we can occasionally help with texts from other sources, our main purpose is to help users with content that is on our website.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
I want only to clarify that it is right or wrong.

I have two sentences
*1) It is too early to say that which impact the new tax will have on investors.
*2) it is too early to say what impact the new tax will have on investors.

I always get confused when I work with the word ' what'.
Somewhere, I read that 'what' as a relative pronoun is equal to 'that which'.
Please clarify Sir,
:)

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