Present perfect

Level: beginner

The present perfect is formed from the present tense of the verb have and the past participle of a verb.

We use the present perfect:

  • 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.

  • when we are talking about our experience up to the present:

I've seen that film before.
I've played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
He has written three books and he is working on another one.

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.

and we use never for the negative form:

Have you ever met George?
Yes, but I've never met his wife.

Present perfect 1

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Present perfect 2

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  • for something that happened in the past but is important in the present:

I can't get in the house. I've lost my keys.
Teresa isn't at home. I think she has gone shopping.

Present perfect 3

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Present perfect 4

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have been and have gone

We use have/has been 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's Maria? I haven't seen her for weeks.
B: She's gone to Paris for a week. She'll be back tomorrow.
 

have been and have gone

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Present perfect with time adverbials 

We often use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to the recent past:

recently just only just

Scientists have recently discovered a new breed of monkey.
We have just got back from our holidays.

or adverbials which include the present:

so far     until now     up to now
ever
(in questions)
yet (in questions and negatives)

Have you ever seen a ghost?
Where have you been up to now?
A: Have you finished your homework yet?
B: No, so far I've only done my history.

After a clause with the present perfect we often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:

I've worked here since I left school.
I've been watching that programme every week since it started.

Present perfect with time adverbials 1

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Present perfect with time adverbials 2

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Be careful!
We do not use the present perfect with adverbials which refer to a finished past time:
yesterday last week/month/year in 2017 when I was younger etc.

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 the present perfect with adverbials which refer to a time which is not yet finished:
today this week/month/year now that I am 18 etc.

Have you seen Helen today?
We have bought a new car this week.

Present perfect and past simple 1

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Present perfect and past simple 2

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Level: intermediate

Present perfect continuous

The present perfect continuous is formed with have/has been and the -ing form of the verb.

We normally use the present perfect continuous to emphasise that something is still continuing in the present:

She has been living in Liverpool all her life.
It's been raining for hours.
I'm tired out. I've been working all day.
They have been staying with us since last week.

We do not normally use the present perfect continuous with stative verbs. We use the present perfect simple instead:

I've always been liking liked John.

Present perfect continuous 1

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Present perfect continuous 2

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Present perfect for future

We normally use the present simple to talk about the future in clauses with before, after, until, etc.:

I'll keep looking until I find my book.
We'll begin when everyone arrives.

but we can also use the present perfect:

I'll keep looking until I have found my book.
We'll begin when everyone has arrived.

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Soumis par Kapil Kabir le jeu 26/05/2022 - 12:45

Permalien

Hello Sir,
I wanna ask a question, which is related to the verb "Be" and preposition "Of".
I got this sentence while reading a book. The sentence is
*) Pronouncing a word carefully is of no help in spelling it properly.
My question is that
Can we rewrite the sentence
*) Pronouncing a word carefully is no help in spelling it properly.
Without having "Of" preposition just after verb "Be"
Does it(Removing of Preposition "Of") affect the meaning of sentence.
If not, then what the sentence means.

Please Elaborate it....
Thank you.

Hello Kapil Kabir,

Yes, it is OK to omit the word 'of' from this and similar sentences and the two variants mean the same thing.

To be honest, I'm not sure why we say 'of' in this and similar cases (e.g. 'it's of no use'). It might have to do with the extensive influence of Old French on English, but that's just a guess on my part.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par dostyamiine le dim 10/04/2022 - 02:44

Permalien

Hello, please I need your help.
I've read that stative verbs are not used with present perfect simple. However, they can be used with present perfect when they are used with time expressions.
●I have liked you ( incorrect)
●I have liked you all my life. (Correct)
●I have known him. ( incorrect)
●I have known him for ten years. (Correct)
My question is: is this information right or wrong??????????????

Hello dostyamiine,

Yes, you can use present perfect with and without time references.

If no time reference is stated then we understand the time to be 'at some point up to now'. Thus, a sentence like 'I have liked you' is possible if you want to say 'I didn't always dislike you'. Obviously, this kind of context is quite rare but it can be found: I have liked jazz in the past, but now I'm more into rock. However, other forms are more common, such as 'used to' for this sense.

When a time reference is used with present perfect then it must be an open time reference (unfinished time/time up to the present), like those in your examples (all my life, for ten years).

 

Some verbs are understood to describe states which do not change, such as knowing a person. When we know someone, we know them for ever so we do not use these verbs without a time reference.

 

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team