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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


Present perfect 2


  • 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


Present perfect 4


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


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
(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


Present perfect with time adverbials 2


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


Present perfect and past simple 2


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


Present perfect continuous 2


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.


Hello again Maya.micheal,

I'm afraid we don't provide help of this kind. We're happy to explain aspects of grammar and help our users understand the language, but we don't provide answers to tasks from elsewhere. If we did this, we would quickly end up doing our users's homework and tests for them, which is not our job!


I can tell you that the key to choosing between the past tense and the present perfect is the time period. If the time period is unfinished (continues to the present) then the present perfect can be used. If the time period is complete (ended before the present) then the past tense is needed.



The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Team,
I confused with these words.
They are used in both Present Perfect and Past Simple Form
I've got to go/ I got to go
Show me what you've got / Show me what you got
I've found it/ I found it
Is this the difference between British or American English?
Does it have some kind of different meaning?
#As Far As I've learned, we use Present Perfect as the thing in the past that is still true in present.
Like I've got( means We have something in the past and possess it till now)
I got(means we have something in the past but not sure we possess it till now)
Am I correct?
Am I going wrong too far?
Please Help me with this Sir.

Hello DaniWeebKage,

'I got to go' is not correct in standard British or American English -- it is an abbreviated form of 'I've got to go' in which the 'have' has been omitted. It's fine in informal speaking, but is not correct in writing and is not a past simple form. It communicates necessity here.

In 'Show me what you got', 'got' is indeed a past simple form and means something like 'obtain' or 'receive'.

The difference between 'I've found it' and 'I found it' is the difference between the present perfect and past simple, which you can more about on our Talking about the past page. In American English, the past simple is used for some situations when the present perfect is used in British English, but otherwise they are the same.

Hope this helps you make sense of things.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank You, Sir, Kirk
I've understand well on the present perfect but these kind of situations make me to lose my sences.
There is nothing left. I've eaten it all.(related to the Present)
Like the example above,
1)There is a letter on our whiteboard. I wonder Who have written it?
Should I use Who wrote it or have written it?
If 'who wrote this' is correct, explain me why?
2) To mean ' I understand '
Should I use ' I got it ' or ' I've got it '.
(I ask this because Some pages say B.E would say 'I've got it)

3) Does ' I've got ' mean 'I possess it/ I own it'?
Could you tell me if this have other meanings?
4) Show me what you got ( Does it mean like Show me what you get sth in the past?)

Hope you answer all my ques
Thank You
Have a nice day!!!

Hello DaniWeebKage,

I think that what you're finding difficult is the fact that sometimes it's the speaker's perspective on a situation that makes them choose present perfect or past simple. It's very difficult or even impossible to know another person's perspective if you are working with sentences from a textbook.

There's also the fact that speakers of American English tend to use the past simple in some situations when British English speakers use the present perfect.

In 1, if the speaker views the letter on the board as very recent -- perhaps the speaker saw the whiteboard a minute ago and it was empty, but now there's a letter there -- then 'Who has written it?' would be the sentence most speakers of British English would use. Speakers of American English might also say that, but might also say 'Who wrote it?'.

2 is similar, though it's also important to consider that when we say 'I've got it' very quickly, it often sounds like 'I got it' -- in fact, often people just say 'Got it'.

As for 3, yes, 'have got' can mean that. I'd suggest you read this explanation for more details, though. Although it looks like a present perfect form, its usage is different -- please don't try to understand it as some kind of present perfect.

In 4, yes, 'got' is the past simple form of 'get'. It could refer to a very distant past or, as in this case, probably a recent past.

Hope this helps.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank You, Sir Kirk
Your explanation's made me clearer than before.
I've read the recent past can mean from yesterday to a few months.
1)In 1, Can I use "Having results in the present by past actions" with the recent past?
Not a minute ago, Perhaps yesterday even a month ago.
1.1)What important is about the speaker what he/she wants to refer. Am I right?
2) Have you finished it?
Did you finish it?
These are also up to the speaker's perspective. Am I correct?
(I know in some situations questing with the present perfect may be wrong but in this case, what we use is up to the speaker's time reference) Am I right?
3) I've done it for 5 hours. ( It means the action of what he was doing is completed for 5 hours) Am I right?
Thanks a million.
Have a perfect day!!!

Hello DaniWeebKage,

1) I think so. As you rightly say, it depends on how the speaker views the action and its relationship to the present.

2) Yes, that's correct.

3) In most cases 'I did it for five hours' would be better, but perhaps in a specific context the present perfect would be OK.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Which is the correct one?
Have you seen John come(simple present) here?
Have you seen John came here?
And Why?

Hello DaniWeebKage,

The first one is correct and the second one is not. In this case, 'come' is not a present simple form, but rather a bare infinitive. We often use the bare infinitive in this way after verbs of perception. The '-ing' form is also commonly used when we want to emphasise the action was in progress when it was perceived.

For example, we can say both 'Did you see John cook supper?' and 'Did you see John cooking supper?'. The first one suggests that we saw John begin and finish cooking, that is the whole time he was cooking. The second one means that we only saw him cooking at one point in time and did not witness the entire action.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

So Sir,
I want to ask a waiter about(someone)has come to the restaurant for the last 3 days.
Have you seen someone coming here for the last 3 days?
Did you see someone coming here?
Are both correct?