Present Perfect Tense

When to use Present Perfect

  • Experiences
    Experiences that happened in the past, are still ‘with you’ today and may happen again in the future.
    I’ve been to Asia 3 times now.
    She’s been to Georgia many times.

    My friend broke his arm twice during basketball games. à hopefully it won’t happen again
  • Ongoing things
    Actions that started in the past and are still happening today.
    They’ve lived since I was born.
    She’s been waiting for him to pop the question forever.
  • Expectations
    Asking someone or stating if you have already done something.
    Have you picked up the kids from school?
    I haven’t done my homework, yet.
    Have you ever seen Game of Thrones?
  • Very recent past
    I’ve almost got hit by a car this morning.
    The housekeeper has just finished cleaning the bathroom.
    Have you just finished work?
  • Emphasis is on the present consequence/result of an event that happened in the past
    Someone has stolen my cell phone!
    She’s learnt to sing from the best teacher.
    I’ve broken my leg during skiing.

Structure of Present Perfect Tense

Subject + conjugated form of ‘to have’ + Past Participle of Main Verb + Object

The auxiliary verb of perfect tenses is ‘to have’ which needs to be used in the first form in present tense. Make sure to conjugate ‘to have’ to agree with the subject. ‘To have’ is always followed by the Past Participle or the main verb. Note that there are many verbs that have irregular past participle forms. Make sure to learn the most common ones from our list!

Some examples for the structure:
My dog has eaten my homework.
I’ve lost my keys on my way home.
My family has lived here since I was born.

Take a look at the following table to review how Present Perfect is formed:

Making the Simple Present Tense negative

To create the negative form of a Present Perfect verb, you need to combine ‘not’ and the auxiliary verb ‘to have’. The short form are ‘hasn’t’ and ‘haven’t’. Remember to use the short forms in informal conversations and the long forms in a written, formal context.

Subject + has / have + not + Past Participle of Main Verb

He hasn’t been to the theater before.
I still haven’t read anything from the summer readings list.
None of my plants have survived.

Note that there are many verbs that have irregular Simple Past and Past Participle forms. Make sure to learn the most common ones from our list!

Yes/No questions in Present Perfect

Yes/no questions in Present Perfect are formed by switching the auxiliary verb ‘to have’ and the subject. For example:
Have you been to Mallorca, yet?
Has your family lived on a farm for a long time?
Haven’t you paid the electricity bills already?

Open-ended quiestions in Present Perfect

In case of open-ended questions, always start with the questions word. After the questions word, follow the usual word order for questions: auxiliary verb – subject – main verb – object -etc. The auxiliary verb in Present Perfect is have which is then followed by the subject and the past participle of the main verb. For example,

What have you eaten for breakfast today?
Who have you just talked to on the phone?
When have you started watching this new show?

Typical adverbs of Present Perfect Tense

Already, yet, since …., for … years/days/hours, this morning/afternoon/evening, today, recently, lately, just, ever, never, so far, in the last few years/minutes/weeks

Some examples:
I have already been to the doctor.
I haven’t been to the doctor, yet.
I’ve been to the doctor this morning.
I’ve had the same doctor for 10 years.
I’ve recently found a new doctor.s
I’ve just found a new doctor.
I have never met such a great doctor before!
Have you ever met a doctor who cures cancer?
I haven’t found a good knee specialist so far.
I have met many doctors from India in the last few years.

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