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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

Hello!

Which one is correct?
- Jessica HASN'T COME to volleyball practice very often in the last couple of weeks.
- Jessica HASN'T BEEN COMING to volleyball practice very often in the last couple of weeks.

Thank you!

Hello Amaura,

Both forms are possible and neither is incorrect.

Please note that we generally from elsewhere such as this which may be from tests or homework. We are happy to explain our own material, of course.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much, Peter M!

Is it correct to say
Will he had been waiting for me since 3o'clock? or
Will he have been waiting for me since 3o'clock?
Which one is correct? Or both are wrong?

Hello amber_melanie,

The correct form is will he have (the second sentence). The first sentence is not a correct form.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
Please, can you advise if the below sentence is correct? Can we use "Than" after have been?
"The room rate of Crownplaza has been reduced than yesterday’s rate"
Thank you.

Hello Sooraj

I'm afraid that is not correct in standard British English. You could say 'has been reduced compared to yesterday's rate' and that would be correct.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk!

Hello,
Is it grammatically correct to say "Next year I will have been working for 10 years"?

Hello Ziyad Ossama,

Yes, that is a grammatically correct sentence. It means that you began your working life (i.e. after school) 9 years ago. If you add a place to the sentence then it would describe your working life in that place. For example:

Next year I will have been working in this shop for 10 years.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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