The Present Perfect Tense

The Present Perfect Tense

This year I want to focus my blogs on your needs and all the parts of English that you struggle with. I know that grammar can be extremely difficult for some of you who are learning English for the first time and even some native speakers struggle with grammar because it does become very confusing and difficult but I want to help all of you to take very small steps to understanding just a bit more clearly. Today, let’s focus on a simple yet very useful grammar tense: The Present Perfect Tense.

What is the Present Perfect Tense?

The present perfect tense refers to an action that took place in the recent past at an unspecified time before now. The exact time that the action takes place is not important.

For example:
Mary has gone to England for the holidays.

  • Mary left her home to go to England at a time in the past.
  • The time she left is not important.
  • Mary is still in England now.


Have/has + past participle of the main verb
  • It can also be in the form of a negative sentence or a question
  • Simon has cooked dinner for us today (affirmative)
  • Simon has not cooked dinner for us today (negative)
  • Has Simon cooked dinner for us today? (question)
Remember not to confuse the past participle with the past simple form of the verb.
For example: I have saw a lot of beautiful artwork here.
I have seen a lot of beautiful artwork here.
Some verbs are regular and so the past participle is formed by adding ‘ed’ at the end of the verb.
For example:
  • Ask = asked
  • Jump = jumped
  • Need = needed
However, some verbs are irregular and so there is no rule to learn the past participle.
For example:
  • Say = said
  • Buy = bought
  • Do = done
  • Go = gone
Note: Never use this tense with specific time expressions such as: last week, a week ago, when I went to work this morning etc. You can however use this tense with unspecific time expressions such as: many times, several times, never etc.

How do we use the Present Perfect Tense?

The Present Perfect Tense can mention the past in several ways:
1. To talk about a repeated action that continues over a period of time:
  • I have jogged in this park every morning for two years.
2. To talk about an action that started in the past and is still happening:
  • Simon has gone to McDonald’s for lunch.
3. To provide new information:
  • I have just arrived in Jamaica. My plane landed two minutes ago.

Common Words

Below are some words we frequently use with the Present Perfect Tense:
Already: the action is completed and now you are doing something else
  • I have already seen this movie 10 times.
For: Duration
or period of time
  • I have lived in Japan for a year.
Since: The exact moment that the action started
  • I have visited this park every weekend since I was fifteen years old.
Ever: the time from you were born until now.
  • Have you ever eaten sushi?
Just: The action was completed just a few moments ago.
  • I have just eaten my lunch.

Thanks for reading!!

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