The Present Perfect Tense

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First found May 22, 2018

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By AJ Brown
The Present Perfect
Tense
A Tense with Two
Meanings…
What does it look like?
• I have known him for six years.
• Jean has been to the Ukraine three times this
year.
• I haven’t done my homework yet.
• Have you ever ridden an elephant?
• I have been waiting for help since 1 p.m.!
• She has never seen snow.
• How many times have you eaten at Ming’s?
What does it mean?
The present perfect verb tense has two different
meanings.
1.The action of the verb happened at an
unspecified time in the past. (In the past, but
we don’t know when.)
2.The action of the verb started in the past and
continues to now (and will probably continue
to the future, as well).
#1 unspecified time in the past
Peter has already seen that movie.
(When? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter.)
My sister has traveled to many countries.
(When? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter.)
My mother has been to Africa.
(When? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter.)
I have never been to Africa.
(When? Not last year. Not the year before. Not any
year.)
See the difference…
• Simple past (exact time is known)
When? Yesterday.
I saw that movie yesterday.
• Present perfect (exact time is NOT known)
When? I don’t know, but
I have already seen that movie.
before.
• Simple past (exact time is known)
When? In 1990.
In 1990, she lived in Europe.
• Present perfect (exact time is NOT known)
When? I don’t know, but
She has lived in Europe before.
before.
#2 started in the past and continues to
now
Peter has played the violin since 2004.
(began in 2004 and continues to today...)
My sister has lived in Berkeley for ten years.
(began in 2000 and continues to today...)
My mother has driven a Toyota since 1981.
(began in 1981 and continues to today...)
I have had dreadlocks for three years.
(began in 2007 and continues to today...)
See the difference…
• Simple past (finished!)
Now? No, I don’t live there
now.
I lived in Spain in 1990.
• Present perfect (continues…)
Now? Yes, he still lives in
He has lived in Spain since 1990.
Spain.
• Simple past (finished!)
Now? No, he isn’t in
Two weeks ago, he was in Italy.
Italy..
• Present perfect (continues…)
Now? Yes, he is still
He has been in Italy for two weeks.
in Italy.
Words that go with the present
perfect tense…
#1 since
• Since means something started in the past and
Whenuntil
it introduces
continues
now…
a time clause, use
the simple
• It is followed
bypastthe specific point (day, year,
tense in the since
time, etc.) in
time that it started.
clause!
AJ has been in her office since seven o’clock.
They have been married since 2002.
I have known him since I was a girl.
Words that go with the present
perfect tense…
#2 for
If the noun is plural
(hours, weeks, years,
etc.), USE for in the time
expression…NOT since.
• For also means something started in the past
and continues until now…
• It is followed by the specific length of time
(hours, years, weeks, etc.).
I have known him for six months.
They have been married for twenty years.
AJ has been in her office for almost an hour.
Words that go with the present
NOT USED in negative
perfect tense…
statements.
#3 already
• Already means something happened before…
• It is most commonly written between the
auxiliary and main verbs.
I have already seen that movie.
(When? I don’t know, but before now.)
They have already eaten lunch.
(When? I don’t know, but before now.)
Words that go with the present
perfect tense…
ONLY USED in negative
statements
or
questions.
#4 yet
• Yet means something didn’t happen before,
but it might in the future.
• It is most commonly written at the end of a
sentence.
I haven’t seen that movie yet.
(I didn’t see it before, but maybe I will.)
Have they eaten lunch yet?
(Did they eat before? I don’t know.)
Words that go with the present
ONLY USED in
perfect tense…
negative perfect
tense statements.
#5 still
• Still means something continues without any
change.
• It is most commonly written before the verb.
I still haven’t seen that movie.
(Not seeing the movie continues…)
He still has not written the essay.
(Not writing continues…)
Words that go with the present
ONLY USED in
perfect tense…
questions.
#6 ever
• Ever means at any time in the past.
• It is most commonly written after the subject
and before the main verb.
Have you ever met some one from Mongolia?
No, I haven’t.
Has he ever been to India?
Yes, he has.
Words that go with the present
ONLY USED in
statements to showperfect tense…
0%.
#7 never
• Never means at NO time in the past.
• It is most commonly written after the subject
and before the main verb.
He has never been to Japan.
(Not at any time in the past.)
AJ has never tasted Kabsa.
(Not last year, the year before, or any other time)
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