Present Perfect tense in English

Present Perfect tense in EnglishDifficulties in applying Present Perfect correctly.

Borderline cases with Present Simple/Continuous and Past Simple.

Present Perfect is a present tense for resultant activity until now. It links the indefinite past to the present. Its form is a finite have + past participle. Negative Present Continuous has have not / haven’t, has not / hasn’t before participle.

I’ve decided.

have/has + V3
? +
has sb done sth sb has done sth sb hasn’t done sth


The ‘s contraction often confuses beginner students as standing both for has and is. The following participle leaves no doubt about has in Present Perfect.

Present Perfect Meanings

  • recent states (relevant up to now)

Rachel has had the dog for 3 years.

He’s taught English in 5 different countries.

Bart has lived there since he was a child.

  • fresh actions (with visible results)

She’s just washed her hair.

Look what you’ve done!

I see they’ve knocked down the old cinema in the town center.

  • news announcements

The police have finally arrested Peter Duncan.

At least 20 people have been killed in a motorway crash.

  • experiences (resulting now)

The Taylors have bought a sailing boat.

I’ve been to Spain but I haven’t been to Italy.

  • current period achievements

She has taken 15 pictures today.

Grammatical Present Perfect

Present Perfect sometimes denotes necessary actions in future clauses of time/condition. It emphasizes action completion as a condition.

I’ll give you back your ring when I’ve found it.

I’ll go swimming with you on Monday if I’ve recovered from this cold.

Do you think I could borrow that book after you’ve finished reading it?

ordinal/superlative + Present Perfect

She’s the most honest person I’ve ever met.

It’s 1st time he’s driven a car (= He’s never driven cars before).

That’s the 3rd time he’s phoned her this evening.

Gone/Been To

Gone to means on one’s way or at a place. Been to means already back from somewhere.

I’ve been to London and now my sister has gone there.

Time Reference

  • conjunctions

for, since, how long

Hello, I haven’t seen you for ages.

How long have you had this problem?

  • adverbs

yet, still, always, just, already, lately/recently, ever, never, before

I’ve seen Jane a lot lately.

Have you had a holiday this year yet?

These letters have just arrived.

  • adverbials

so far, today, this morning/afternoon/evening/week/month/season/year/century, in the last few days, the other day

I’ve read 2 books this week.

They’ve been on holiday twice this year.