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:


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.


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.




Hi! I'm presently brushing up my grammar in particular to verb tenses because i always get confused with the verb tenses. While I am studying the past perfect, there is an example given that is really confusing for me. This is the example " I was really surprised when lisa cut her hair. She had had a long hair since I met her". My question is that is it possible if I switch the tense of the verb to present tense " i am surprised when liza has cut her hair. She have had a long hair since we met." Another question for the last part of my sentence in present tense "she have had a long hair since we met" could I use past perfect had had instead of have had because her hair is short already whereas if I use have had this can mean that until now she has a long hair. Please help me. Thank you very much

Hello RTris,

If you want to switch to a present time, you need to change the construction slightly – instead of using 'when', use 'that' – but otherwise, yes, you've made the right changes in verb tenses: 'I'm surprised that Lisa has cut her hair. She has had long hair since we met.' (Note that you should say 'long hair' instead of 'a long hair'.) If you use present tense ('I'm surprised') in the first sentence, the past perfect is logically possible in the second sentence (for the reason you describe), but the present perfect is much more likely to be used.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

thank you for the feedback Kirk. I still have one question regarding tenses but now it's between present and present perfect continuous.
1. She suffers from head injuries as a result of car accident 10 months ago.
2. She has been suffering from head injuries as a result of car accident 10 months ago.
These 2 sentences is it possible? in the first sentence it shows that the situation is a fact after the car accident happened so I can use present tense. The situation is true in the past,in the present and possible to continue in the future if it is not treated or he/she hasn't recovered yet. However, in the second sentence this can mean that the situation is continuous it started in the past after the accident and stilm continues up to now and will continue in the future without knowing when it will stop. they both in the present tenses but my problem is that they can both continue the future and it is true in the present. Please help me here. Thanks a lot.

Hello RTris,

Yes, both of those sentences are correct. As you suggest, the present simple in 1 suggests that the suffering is permanent, or at least not likely to go away anytime soon. This is one of the uses of the present simple, i.e. to speak about something that happens again and again, like habits -- though of course in this case it's not a habit.

It really depends on the context, but the present perfect continuous in 2 could suggest, for example, that we see the suffering as something temporary. It might not go away, but we just don't know yet.

Does that help you make sense of it?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

has had a long hair. sorry for the error.

what do we use with everyone has or have?

Dear Sir
Please let me know whether the present perfect tense can be used in this way:
He has been an employee of ours since May 2076. or He has worked for us since may 2016. Both are correct or one.
Thank you in advance
Andrew international

Hello Andrew international,

Both sentences are correct and natural-sounding - good work!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Teachers
Are there two tense Present Perfect tense and Present Perfect Continue tense or Present Perfect Continue is child of Present Perfect ?

I think that :
Present Perfect to say something that happened in the past and it done in the present
Present Perfect continue to say something that happened in the past and it continue in the present

These thing above are right ?
Thanks for advice