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 would like to ask you about the items that explanation about "something that happened in the past but is important at the time of speaking "it makes me confused to choose a present perfect or present perfect continuous? how should i know which one is suitable ? And could you explain for me about the difference of their meaning.

Thanks in advance

Hello Hannan.k,
The difference between the present perfect simple and continuous is very small in most contexts, and you can often use either form.  However, there are some uses of the present perfect which have a clear distinction between the simple and continuous forms.  For a summary of the differences and an exercise to practise them, look at this page.
I hope that helps to clarify it for you.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,
Thank you so much for your helping,i checked that page you mention it was so useful for me.

Best regards

Hi, I want to ask you some questions.  
what does it mean?      I just finished my class.
what type of tense is it? if it's present perfect, why we don't use have? please explain it?

Hi pegah.a,
The sentence you quoted is a past simple sentence but I think a present perfect form would be more likely in standard English, as you imply:
I have just finished my class
Sometimes speakers use unusual or non-standard forms - I'm sure this is also true in your language.  There are also some differences in the way American and British speakers use the present perfect, particularly to talk about very recent evens (often using 'just').  If I had to guess, I would say that your sentence is most likely to have been said by a speaker of American English but, of course, there is no way for me to check!
I hope that answers your question.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

can anyone help me what does it mean ?
I’ve played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
or can i tell this sentence without ever because i can't understand the use of ever there 

Hi saima khan,
Yes, the sentence "I've played the guitar since I was a teenager" is correct. There is not a big difference in meaning between the sentence with ever and the sentence without ever.
I would encourage you to look up ever in the dictionary at the right of the page, where you'll see that one of its meanings is always. This is the meaning in the sentence you ask about. The speaker is saying they have played the guitar without stopping (not every moment, but not giving it up) since they were a teenager.
I hope this clarifies the sentence for you!
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Kirk for your support and guidance 

I would like to ask you the difference between Present Perfect, Present Continuous and Simple Present in the following sentences.
a) He has suffered from a cold. - Does this mean that the person is alright now and to tell people that he had a cold recently? 
a*)He has suffered from hay fever. - Does this mean that he does not have hay fever anymore? 
b) He has been suffering from a cold since last Monday. - Does this mean that that the person is likely still suffering from a cold now? or is there a chance that he has got rid of it completely. 
c) He suffers from hay fever. - Does this mean the person has had it since he was born?
d) He has suffered from a cold since last Friday. Does this sentence make sense to you by adding a time phrase? 
Thank you for your help in advance. 
Best Regards,

Hi chrisf,
What a long question!  You can find a lot of help on these topics in LearnEnglish's grammar section.  In answer to your questions:
a) The sentence tells us that the person has suffered from a cold at some point in his life.  Without more context we don't know the details of when, how long or how often, or even if the person has or does not have a cold now.  We can speculate, based on what we know about colds and life, but from the sentence itself we only know that at some point in his life, he had a cold.
a*)  As above.
b) The person is still sick.
c) We don't know when the hay fever began; it may have been since birth or it may have developed later.  All we know from the sentence is that he suffers from it now (as in generally, not necessarily at this moment - this sentence could be said in the middle of winter, for example).
d) Yes, the sentence makes sense with a time reference.
Best wishes
The LearnEnglish Team