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:

Use

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.

WARNING:

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.

   

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

hi there..could you please explain these sentences
"I have seen that film yesterday.( why this sentence is wronge)?
"we have bought a new car this week"(why this is right)?
and 1 more thing I wanted to ask is please could you give me any tips to improve my handwriting and writing speed?thanks

Hi Husnain,

We use the present perfect when the time reference is unfinished. That means it refers to time that goes all the way up to the moment of speaking (e.g. 'I've been to Spain' means 'at some time in my life') or a time period which has not ended (e.g. 'I've washed the car twice this week' would be said when if the week has not finished yet).

Your first sentence is incorrect because the time period is finished ('yesterday'). We would use a past simple form here ('saw' not 'have seen').

Your second sentence is correct because the time period is not finished ('this week').

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

thanks for helping me out. I really appreciate

Is it possible to use present perfect and past perfect in the same sentence?
''He is disappointed because nothing has turned out as he had hoped.''
Second question
Is there a difference between (when someone has just said something to me) ''I had never thought about it like that before.'' and ''I have never thought about it like that before.''
Am I allowed to use both?

Hello confusedperfect,

Yes, it is possible -- your sentence is a great example of this use, in fact. As for your second question, they mean the same thing. The past perfect version makes a point of indicating that you never thought of 'it' in this way in the past, and so perhaps suggests that you thought a lot about 'it' in the past. The present perfect sentence doesn't have that kind of emphasis, but other than that they mean the same thing.

I hope this helps you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I have a question regarding the following sentence:
"I have given my theater ticket to my friend Amanda because I couldn't go"
Is the use of the present perfect with the past tense correct here? or it should only be used with a present tense as in:
"I have given my theater ticket to my friend Amanda because I can't go"

Hello MariaConsuelo,

The combination of present perfect and past simple in your first sentence doesn't work, as you rightly seemed to have suspected. The second version of your sentence is correct or you could also say 'I gave my theater ticket to Amanda because I couldn't go' (using the past simple instead of the present perfect).

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Sorry for some mistakes: in the previous text i meant to say "...showed up on..."

Hello,team! Help me please to resolve one problem. I can't decide between two options,i.e. Past simple or Present perfect,when i want, for example,to say to my old friend who unexpectedly showed on my doorstep after long time no see:
1. Well,what has brought you here?
2.Well,what brought you here?
...or both options are possible in this context? And if one of two preferable,could you explain why?
Thanks in advance

Hello Slava,

Both forms can be used here. The present perfect form is more common in British English and the past simple form is more common in American English, but you could hear either one. There are cases when using one form or the other can have more effect on meaning, but in this case there isn't really any.

Rob and Stephen discuss these two tenses in this video -- why don't you take a look? It might be helpful.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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