Present Perfect Tense
Form of the simple present perfect tense
The present perfect is formed with the present of have + the past participle (the third part of a verb). For regular verbs the past participle has the same form as the simple past tense: e.g. arrive, arrived, have arrived. For irregular verbs the simple past and the past participle can be formed in a variety of ways e.g. drink, drank, have drunk.
I have (I’ve)
You have (You’ve)
He has (he’s) arrived (regular verb)
She has (She’s) finished (regular verb)
It has (It’s) started (regular)
We have (We’ve) shut (irregular)
You have (You’ve) lost (irregular)
They have (They’ve) drunk (irregular)
The present perfect tense always suggests a relationship between present time and past time. So I’ve had lunch implies that I did so very recently. However, if I say I had lunch, I also have to say WHEN e.g I had lunch an hour ago. We use present perfect tense to express the action which happened in the past but we don’t know when exactly it happened, or we don’t want to say. Similarly, I’ve been here since February shows a connection between past and present, whereas I am here can only relate to present and cannot be followed by a phrase like since February.
The Present Perfect Tense is a sort of mixture of present and the past. It always implies a strong connection with the present.
The uses of the present perfect tense
It is used:
1. For recent actions when the time is not mentioned
I have read the book but I don’t understand it.
Have you had lunch?
Compare: I read the book last week.
Did you have lunch at home?
2. For recent actions having results in the present
John has washed the dishes.
Mary has had a baby. vs. Mary had a baby.
(she is at home) (she is at hospital)
3. For actions which occurred further back in the past, but may be repeated, therefore still having connection with the present:
This writer has written 6 novels. (he is going to write more)
This writer wrote six novels. (he is probably dead or stopped writing)
4. For actions occurring in an incomplete period: this incomplete period may be today, or this morning/week, month/ year/ century etc.
Compare: Tom has phoned three times this morning. (morning is still on)
Tom phoned three times this morning. (morning is over)
5. For an action that started in the past and continues up to the present.
They have not said a word during the drive.
The number of cars in the streets has increased over the last few years.
6. It is often used in formal letters:
We have carefully considered your offer sent to us and have decided to accept it.
The tense is used with
- prepositions indicating duration: during, over, in, for, since
-adverbs of time (past-to-present time): so far, up to now, until now, up to the present, all his life, in her whole life etc.
-adverbs that indicate repetition: ever, never, always, occasionally, often, sometimes, twice, three times, several times etc.
-adverbs showing that the event happened recently:just, already, yet, recently, lately, in recent years
- Verbs tenses
- Present Tenses
- Present Simple Tense
- Present Continous Tense
- Present Perfect Tense
- Present Perfect Continuous Tense
- Past Tenses
- Past Simple Tense
- Past Continuous (Progressive) Tense
- Past Perfect Tense
- Future Tenses
- The Simple Future Tense
- Future Continuous Tense
- Future Perfect Tense
- Future Perfect Continous Tense
- Stative and dynamic verbs
- Transitive and intransitive verbs
- Reflexive verbs
- Full verbs and auxiliary verbs
- Modal verbs
- Indirect speech