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.





Hello Vishal Panchal,

The explanation for this is on the page.


for something that happened in the past but is important at the time of speaking:

In this case it is important because it has a present result (being tired).


Remember that there are several ways in which the present perfect is used. To describe an unfinished activitiy is only one of these.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


I have a doubt about time adverbials. When we use the time adverbials in the present perfect we need to follow a form to use it?

for example: has/have+ past participle + time adverbials.

Hello Paula Ribeiro,

That looks fine as a summary. The position of the time adverbial is flexible but it usually comes at the end, after other adverbials:


I have lived happily in London for six years.

[have + past participle > adverbial of manner > adverbial of place > adverbial of time]


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


Is this correct: " My husband has to go to work on Saturday".

Is 'has' the auxiliary verb in the sentence?
What is the name of the rule? Subject-verb agreement?

Thank you

Hello UmmYahya,

Yes, that sentence is grammatically correct. 'have to' isn't exactly an auxiliary verb here, but you have used it correctly because the subject ('my husband') is singular and in the third person. If the subject were 'you' or 'my brothers' or 'I', the verb would need to be 'have (to go to work)'. Yes, this is subject-verb agreement.

'have' is used as an auxiliary in the formation of the present perfect tense, for example. In 'I have gone to work', 'have' is the auxiliary used to form the present perfect form 'I have gone'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I want to know what will be the difference of meaning between :
I've been working at this place since 5 years
I'm working at this place since 5 years
I work at this place since 5 years

It's just to introduce myself and I want to know if the first one doesn't imply that i've finished to work there or that I will soon finish

and are there any mistakes ?

Best regards

Hello Sousse-k,

Only the first of these is correct. When we are describing an unfinised period of time which began in the past we use the present perfect or the present perfect continuous. You can read about the difference between the two on this page.

We use 'since' with a point in time: since Tuesday, since 7.00, since I was ten etc.

We use 'for' with a period of time: for three hours, for a long time, for five years.

Your sentence should therefore be either of these:


I've been working at this place for five years.

I've been working at this place since 2012.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

If the adverb of time relates to the present, which tense should preferably be used? Which is preferable, "He has reached today" or "He reached today", or are they both equally correct?

Hello Asya's,

The present perfect is used in a number of ways but the one you are referring to here, I think, is when an action continues up to the present (unfinished past); the past simple is used when an action is complete (finished past time). I'm not sure what you mean by 'reach' in your examples, but I can illustrate with a clearer example:

He has made three cakes today. [he may make more]

He made three cakes today. [he will not make more; the action is complete]


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Actually I meant "work finished". But the time of the completion, the adverb of time, is related to the present, "today". Now, in this context, which one is appropriate: "I have finished the work today" or "I finished the work today"? Or, using "reach" as the verb, "I have reached London today" or "I reached London today" - which one is appropriate?