The present perfect is one of the most difficult tenses to learn for intermediate level English learners. There are three main purposes for the present perfect in English:
- Events that begin in the past and continue into the present
She's lived in Chicago since 2008.
- Speaking in general about life experience
Peter has been to Europe many times.
- Speaking about events that happened recently and influence the present moment
I've already eaten lunch.
Listed below are examples, uses and structure of the Present Perfect followed by a quiz. Teachers can use this guide on how to teach present perfect for tips, materials and lesson plans for introducing this tense to classes.
Use the present perfect when giving or asking for news or speaking about recent events.
Fred Meyers has had excellent profits this quarter.
The class's understanding has increased greatly this semester.
Have they finished the report yet?
Past Actions with Present Results
Use the present perfect for past actions with results in the present.
The study of irregular verbs has improved test scores. They have bought a new car. I've already eaten lunch.
NOTE - US/English exception: It is also accepted in US English to ask "Did you phone her yet?" as opposed to the more common "Have you phoned her yet?"
Use the present perfect to speak about experience in life in general.
She's traveled in many parts of the world.
Have you ever been to France?
They've never seen a mountain.
Use the present perfect to speak about an action, state, or other status which began in the past and is still true.
He's lived in San Francisco for 10 years.
How long have you worked for this company?
They've studied English for 3 years.
She hasn't traveled abroad.
Ever and Never
Ever is used with the present perfect to ask if something has happened in someone's life, never is used with the present perfect to state that something has never happened in a person's life up until the present moment in time.
Have you ever visited Europe?
Have they ever eaten Sushi?
She's never travelled outside the country.
Tim has never seen a satellite.
Time Expressions with Present Perfect
Use the following time expressions with the present perfect.
for (with a period of time)
since (with an exact point in time)
yet, already, this week (month, year)
Conjugate the verb 'have' (have or has) past participle. Regular verbs end in -ed. If the verb ends in -y preceded by a consonant, change the -y to -ied. Irregular verbs must be studied. See chart for most common irregular verbs.
Conjugate the verb 'have' (have or has) not past participle. Regular verbs end in -ed. If the verb ends in -y preceded by a consonant, change the -y to -ied. Irregular verbs must be studied. See chart for most common irregular verbs.
Conjugate the verb 'have' (have or has) Subject past participle. Regular verbs end in -ed. If the verb ends in -y preceded by a consonant, change the -y to -ied. Irregular verbs must be studied. See chart for most common irregular verbs.
The present perfect tense is also often confused with the past simple. This present perfect vs past simple quiz will help you test your understanding of when to use the present perfect or past simple.