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

Hello Janghyeok,

In general, we use the present perfect when there is an identifiable present result and the past simple when the time period is finished. Most of the time we would say 'What did you just say?' as the speech has finished. However, we might say 'What have you just said?' if there is a clear result of the person's speech. For example, if I see that two of my friends are having a conversation and suddenly one of them bursts into tears then I might ask 'What have you just said?' because there is a clear present result. However, 'What did you just say?' is the most common form used.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I would like to understand if the responder to this question is actually correct OR should wait until asked with a Past simple question to give more information..
'Have you ever been here before?' - Yes I have. I came here last July

Hi. I would like to understand if this answer to this question is grammatically correct.
" Have you ever been here before?" - Yes I have. I came here last July...
My understanding is that the answer shouldn't reflect the time the action happened as I am simply asking whether you have done this action.
Surely the responder should wait until asked with a Past simple question as to when they have done said experience? OR is the repsonder correct even when I am not interested as to 'when' they did the experience...

Hello beachbum,

The answer to the question is 'Yes I have'. Whatever follows that is up to the speaker - he or she can add additional information using the past simple if there is a concrete time reference, for example, as here, or using the present perfect ('Yes I have. I've been here many times') if there is no time reference. There is no need to wait for a particular question before adding whatever information you wish.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hey :)
What's the difference between
- where have the things that used to make me laugh gone?
-where did the things that used to make me laugh go?
And which one makes more sense!

Thank you.

Hi Ahmedkhairy,

Both of these sentences are correct grammatically so the question of which one makes more sense depends on the context in which they are used, and we do not have that context.

We use did...go (past simple) to describe completed events in the past. If the things that made you laugh disappeared a long time ago then this would be the most appropriate form.

We use have...gone (present perfect) to describe events in the past which have an influence on the present. If it is a new thing that you no longer laugh, or if this is a recent change in your life, then this would be the most appropriate form.

You can read more about these forms here and here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I'd just like to know what this means I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU when it says at the moment of speaking in the present.

Hello ryanpaul190,

We use this form (the present perfect continuous) to describe an action which began in the past and is still continuing, or which is repeated up to the present moment. I would guess that the former is the case in this example (the speaker started waiting a while ago) but it would need a time reference:

I've been waiting for you for hours!

When asking about the meaning/use of particular forms it is always better to provide a full sentence as the context is usually very important in establishing the meaning.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi. what's the difference between:
I am pleased to say that his pain has improved.
I am pleased to say that his pain is improved.

They are confident that his cold has settled down.
They are confident that his cold is settled down.

thanks much in advance

Hello Setrah,

The first example in each pair has a verb in the present perfect form, which describes the present result of a change. The second example has a verb in the present simple, which describes a current state. In many cases both would be correct; whether or not the change is important or just the current state is a choice for the speaker.

You can read more about present forms on this page (see the links on the right for pages on each form).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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