Present perfect tense

July 6, 2010pdf

Form: has/have + past participle form of the verb

  • He has written a letter.
  • They have arrived.
  • It has stopped raining.

The present perfect tense is used to talk about completed activities in the immediate past. It is often used with the adverb of time just.

  • I have just finished my work.
  • He has just gone out.
  • They have just arrived.

The present perfect tense can also be used to talk about past actions whose time is not given or definite.

  • I have read all plays of Shakespeare. (This statement doesn’t say exactly when I read the plays. All that we know is that it happened sometime in the past.)
  • I have visited Africa.
  • She has acted in several films.

Past events whose effect is felt in the present

The present perfect tense is used to talk about past events when we think more of their effect in the present than of the action itself.

  • He has broken his leg. (So he can’t walk now.)
  • I have finished my work. (= Now I am free.)

Past events that have continued up to the present

The present perfect tense is also used to talk about an action which began at some time in the past and has continued up to the present.

  • I have known him for a long time. (I still know him.)
  • We have lived in this city for ten years. (We still live in this city.)
  • He has been ill since last week. (He is still ill.)

Note that the present perfect tense cannot be used with adverbs of past time. However, the following adverbs or adverb phrases can be used with the present perfect tense: never, ever, so far, till now, yet, already, today, this week, this month etc.

Present perfect continuous tense

Form: has/have + been + ing form of the verb

The present perfect continuous tense is used to talk about an action which began at some time in the past and is still continuing.

  • It has been raining since yesterday.
  • We have been waiting for two hours.
  • He has been writing for five hours.
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