Present perfect – Form
We form the present perfect tense with the verb have and the past participle of the verb. The past participle is the same as the past simple (-ed) for regular verbs. For irregular verbs, it’s the form in the 3rd column.
Present perfect – Use
We normally use the present perfect to talk about past events that have a connection with the present; for example, news or past experiences. We can also use the present perfect to talk about situations that started in the past, but which are still true in the present. Check the grammar chart below:
Recent events and news
We use the present perfect to talk about recent events or news. We don’t say when these events happened.
- I’ve passed the test!
- She’s broken her arm.
- The president has travelled to Cuba.
⇒ Just, yet, already
We often use the present perfect with the words just, yet, already.
We use just in (+) sentences to say that something happened very recently (like minutes ago).
- I’ve just seen Peter in the street.
- He looks happy because he’s just got married.
We use yet in (-) and (?) sentences. We put it at the end of the sentence.
- Have you washed the dishes yet?
- I haven’t called him yet.
- She hasn’t arrived yet.
We use already in (+) sentences to say that something happened before now (usually, earlier than we expected).
- I have already finished.
- We have already arrived.
We often use the present perfect to talk about past experiences in our lives. We don’t say when these experiences happened.
- I’ve run the Boston Marathon twice.
- She’s never been on a cruise.
- I’ve been here before.
⇒ Never, ever, before
When we ask about someone’s life experiences we often use the word ever.
- Have you ever read this book?
- Have you ever been to India?
When we talk about life experiences, we often use the words never or before.
- She has never been late.
- I think I have seen this film before.
⇒ How long, for, since
We use the present perfect with the words how long, for, since to talk about actions or situations that started in the past and still continue or are still true now.
- I’ve lived in Oslo since I was born. (=I was born in Oslo and I still live in Oslo)
- They have been married for 25 years. (=They got married 25 years ago and they are still married)
We use how long in questions to ask about the duration of an action or situation.
- How long has she been a teacher?
- How long has she had her car?
We use for + a period of time, e.g. for two weeks, for ten years, for ten days, for a few hours, etc.
- We’ve been here for a few hours.
- They’ve been married for 10 years.
We use since + a moment in the past (the beginning of a period of time), e.g. since I was born, since 10 o’clock, since last Wednesday, etc.
- We’ve been here since 4 o’clock.
- They’ve been married since 2010.
Be careful with these common mistakes!
We use present perfect, and not present simple for actions or situations that started in the past and are still true now.
- We’ve been friends since first grade. (NOT
We are friends since first grade.)
We don’t use the word ago with the present perfect.
- They’ve been married for 10 years. (NOT
They are married since 10 years ago.)