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.




I have a question.

She helped me (to carry/carried/carry) the heavy luggage.

Which answer/s are acceptable?

I believe to carry and carry are both acceptable but my lecturer thinks i’m wrong and said that the correct answers are either to carry or carried.

Please help me.. if i’m correct, how am I supposed to explain to my lecturer?

Hello nadhsna,

In the sentence

She helped me (to carry/carried/carry) the heavy luggage.

the possible answers are to carry and carryCarried is not correct.


I can't suggest how this can be explained as it is not part of a larger grammar rule but rather part of the lexical use of the verb help, which can be part of these structures:

help + [direct object] + [to verb]

help + [direct object] + [verb]



The LearnEnglish Team

How, in terms of when, things happened, can i explain the difference between these two sentences below?
1) I made dinner when she arrived
2) I was making dinner when she arrived

Hello Rossella Hino,

The continuous form suggests that the action was in progress at another time in the past, while the simple form describes a single action which may be part of a sequence of actions.


In terms of when things happened, the first sentence suggests that first he arrived and then you made dinner, perhaps as a result of his arrival (you may have been waiting for him).

The second sentence tells us that you started making dinner before he arrived and had not finished it when he arrived; he arrived in the middle of the cooking.



The LearnEnglish Team



The LearnEnglish Team

What's the difference between I've watched/I've been watching this programme every week?

I wondered if you could do me a favuor?

i need mor exercise and example for present perfect tense
it's a little bit complicate

million of thx

Can you tell me please, which is the difference between "The building of the Opera and Ballet Theatre of Armenia has been operating since 1993" and "The building of the Opera and Ballet Theatre of Armenia operates since 1993". Which one is correct?

Hello Anna,

The first one ('has been operating') is correct and the second one is not. This is because the operation began in 1993 and still continues today, which is an action we use the present perfect or present perfect continuous to describe.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team