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've just finished learning this lesson;it's such useful and helpful; I've been confused with these two tenses for i started learning English ; It look more clear than before now ; but I have a question.I see that we use  the present perfect and the present perfect continuous in the same cases ; why then there are two forms to express one time? would you explain me; please?
thank you.

The difference between the present prefect and the present perfect continuous is, of course, that one uses the continuous aspect (click on that link to find out more) and the other doesn't.
If you think about it. the perfect aspect also can be used to talk about events at the same time as non-perfect verbs. For example, 'She'd met him before.' (past perfect) and 'She met him last week' (past simple) both talk about the same time, the past.
So the continuous and perfective aspects aren't just about time, they are about the way that an event or situation is described. To describe it in a very general way, the continuous aspect describes something as being in progress and the perfective aspect describes something as being completed.
I hope that helps.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, i am a new enter. I have an ask to do. Is not the first example wrong?
"they've been married for nearly fifty years" should not it be "they have married for nearly fifty years"?
Please help me to understand.
Thank you for your help

very clear,
thank you all

it's easy...
i've got all correct.

I always had problems with Present Perfect, but this English Grammar helped me a lot! Thank you British Council :D

Could you give some information on Present Perfect and Past Simple compared, please.
Thank you.

Million thank to B.C for learning English.

this tense is confusing me alot, but  I'm still working on it