Present Perfect Simple
Hi English learners. Welcome to a new lesson. We will be talking about the Present Perfect Simple Tense.
Unless you are Swedish or Norwegian and you already have a similar tense in your language, you probably find present perfect a bit tricky and often use present simple or simple past in some situations that are typically present simple ones, such as I work here or I worked here for 3 years, instead of I’ve worked here for 3 years. It’s only natural because we always rely on our own native language when we are trying to say something in a foreign language.
The structure of the present perfect is: have/has + past participle.
We use it to talk about something that happened in the past but we don’t know when exactly.
- I’ve bought a new car.
- Simon’s dog has got lost.
We also use it to talk about our life experiences if we don’t say when they happened:
- Mark’s been to Turkey and Greece.
- Mary has read a lot of books about animals.
Present Perfect with unfinished time expressions
We also use it with unfinished time expressions: today, this morning/afternoon, this week/month, once/twice, recently, so far…
- I’ve received a few emails this morning.
- Martin has seen Maria twice today.
- We’ve had an English test this week.
- They’ve become parents recently.
- The charity has raised 1000 euros so far.
Present Perfect with ever and never
If you ask someone if they’ve ever been somewhere or have done something, use the present perfect. Ever means at “any time until now” and it is typically used in questions, while never means “not ever” and it is used in affirmative sentences.
- Have you ever been to the US?
- I’ve never seen an elephant.
- Have you ever met anyone famous?
- Sean has never won anything in a raffle.
Present perfect with just, already and yet
Just means “a short time ago”.
- I’ve just seen Michael in front of the door.
- Anna’s just been to visit her parents.
- We’ve just finished breakfast.
Already means before now or sooner than we expected it. We use it in affirmative sentences only. Already goes right after have/has.
- I’ve already started saving money for my holiday.
- You don’t have to pay for it. I’ve already done it.
- I’m not hungry, I’ve already eaten.
We use yet in negative and interrogative sentences to say that something hasn’t happened but we expect that it will. Yet is usually placed at the end of a sentence.
- Have you done your homework yet?
- Sandra hasn’t tidied her flat yet.
- Have they sent wedding invitations yet?
- I haven’t decided yet.
Present perfect with for and since
We use it with for and since to talk about a situation which started in the past and is still continuing now.
We use for with the time period.
- They’ve lived there for three years.
- Monica’s been on holiday for three days.
We use since with a point in time.
- I have worked here since January last year.
- Peter hasn’t heard from his friend since last month.
Been or gone?
We can use gone to and been to with the present perfect with different meanings.
- He’s gone to London. (he went to London and he is still there).
- He’s been to London. (he went to London but he is back home now).
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Do the quiz on present perfect to perfect your knowledge