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 am having trouble with this type of sentence like I have been tired, he has been found guilty, he has been there... do they mean I was tired and still tired, he was guilty and still guilty and he was there and still there ???

Hello Joy71,

The present perfect can be used in different ways, but, yes, that's more or less the general idea. These uses are described in more detail above and I'd also recommend our talking about the past page, where you it is contrasted with other tenses.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir, I have a little confusion with the TENSE ORDER in the following sentences.
1. The exhibition has been over a week ago.
Ans. The exhibition was over a week ago.
2. I have seen my uncle last night.
Ans. I saw my uncle last night.
3. The new hotel has been opened last Sunday.
Ans. The new hotel was opened last Sunday OR should it be The new hotel opened last Sunday.
4. He will reach home before the storm will come.
Ans. He will reach home before the storm comes OR should it be He reached home before the storm came.
5. She will reach the station before the train will go.
Ans. She will reach the station before the train leaves or She reached the station before the train left.

Hello amrita_enakshi,

I'm afraid we don't provide the service of providing explanations like this, particularly when the sentences don't come from our site or seem to be from a different class or learning resource. I'd encourage you to consult with your teacher if you have one. If that's not possible and you'd like to ask us about one of these sentences, explaining in detail to us what you understand or don't understand, then we'll be happy to help you.

You might also want to consider taking a British Council class if you seek this kind of instruction.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir , please pardon me if I have gone beyond the limit. Whenever I had any doubts you have clarified it so well that I wrongfully assumed that I can post the above query. I apologize to the LearnEnglish Team .
Sir as for one sentence , can error corrections have two possible answers?
Ex. He will reach home before the storm will come.
Ans.He reached home before the storm came. Or He will reach home before the storm comes.
As per my understanding both seems to be correct.
Thank you.

Hello amrita_enahshi,

Both of sentences are grammatically correct. Their meanings are different, however, as one refers to the past and one to the future.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

And also I want to know this:
In the middle speaking on the phone, is it correct to say "I've called you to invite you to the party" or "I call you....."

Hello Zth,

You could say 'I've called you ...' or 'I'm calling you' or 'I was calling', but not 'I call you'. I'd say the present continuous is the most commonly used form for this.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

And another one based not on the topic
But you told here "you could say" I've called you ...'
why could? how about "can"
Do we use could as a recommendation here?
Thank you

Hello Zth,

It is correct to use both 'can' and 'could' in the sentence in my last comment. Both 'can' and 'could' can be used to talk about possibility, which is the meaning I was using in that sentence. Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team