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 Quezia Damaris Vasconcelos,

The confusion here is that 'been' is the past participle of two different verbs:

be - was/were - been

go - went - been/gone

When we are using 'been' as the past participle of 'go' then we use 'to':

I've been to France many times.

When we are using 'been' as the past participle of 'be' then we use 'in':

I've never been in such trouble before!

I've been in many museums, but never one so beautiful.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ok, i got it, but i still don't understand how to make the difference of when to use the verb BE or GO. In your example: I've been in many museums, but never (SEEN, right? You missed a word) one so beautiful.
So, why cannot be: I've been to many museums ... (When i read it out loud i realize that is something wrong, but grammatically how can i know?)
Thanks

Hello again,

The sentence I wrote was not missing a word. The verb is repeated and so can be omitted:

I've been in many museums, but [I've] never [been in] one so beautiful.

You can say I've been to many museums, but [I've] never [been to] one so beautiful - the choice is yours to use 'go' or 'be', just as I can say 'My friend isn't here any more - he went home' or 'My friend isn't here any more - he is at home'. This is a choice the speaker makes.

'Be in' tells us about a location; 'be to' tells us about a journey. When there is both a trip to a place and some time in a place the speaker can choose which suits them.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir I am very thankful to you.
I have one issue , i am not getting any mail from this site even of my comment reply, kindly fix this issue.

Dear sir,
She just had her lunch.
She has just had her lunch.
(is the two sentence gramatically correct ?)

Hello Tapan100,

The second sentence is more likely in British English, where we tend to use the present perfect to describe very recent events. However, both sentences are possible.

I see you have asked a number of similar questions about pairs of sentences. While it is easy to identify form errors in such examples, without any context it is very hard to comment on the meaning and use of the examples.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir,
It has come to my notice lately.
It had come to my notice lately.
which one is correct and why please explain details

Hello Tapan100,

Both of these are possible grammatically, but the second sentence requires a context. We use the past perfect ('had come') when there is some other action in the past (typically a past simple form) which the past perfect action refers to - the past perfect action happened before another past action. On its own, without that other action, the second sentence does not make sense. If there were another action then it would be possible.

The first sentence does not require another action because the present perfect describes actions before the present - i.e. now. There is no need to state this in another sentence.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much!
I have the last question... On my English book they talk about giving general information and the example is "I have spoken to Barbara"; but if we refer to a very recent action/ situation, as also a news. Is it correct? I will have an English exam at university in one month!

Hello AzzuCope,

I'm afraid I don't understand your question. The present perfect is not used with a closed time reference, so you can say 'I have spoken to Barbara' but not 'I have spoken to Barbara on Monday'. If the time period is closed (finished) then a past form must be used.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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