Present perfect

 

Present perfect cannot be called easy for understanding, however, it is practically (if not absolutely) impossible to do without it. Let's see what makes it so important.

Present perfect is used when it comes to any past experience. In this case, the exact time is usually not used.

We have trained hundreds of nurses.

They have built a new clinic.

Present perfect is formed with the verb have in the present tense + the verb with the ending -ed (or the third form for irregular verbs).

 

Subject

have (have not)

Past participle

+

I/you/we/they

have

 

 

worked.

He/she/it

has

-

I/you/we/they

haven’t

He/she/it

hasn’t

?

                      Have + subject

 

(ever) worked…?

Have I/we/you/they

Has he/she/it

Present perfect - Past simple

Very often there is a confusion between the tenses Present perfect and Past simple, as they both describe the completed actions. For a better understanding of the difference between these tenses, we suggest comparing them in detail.

1. For Past simple, it is usually important to know the exact time when an event occurred, while Present perfect only shows the presence (or absence) of the experience.

He has traveled to many different countries.

In 1990, he travelled around the world.

Present perfect is also often used when we ask about some events, but we need Past simple to learn more details.

Have you ever been to the USA?

When did you go there?

 

2. Present perfect is used when talking about finished actions or situations within an incomplete time period. What is an incomplete period of time? – it means today, this week, this month, etc.

The surgeon has done four operations so far today. (the operations are completed, but the time is not yet).

Haruki Murakami has written a lot of novels. (he is alive; therefore we use Present perfect).

Agatha Christie wrote a lot of novels. (she died, so use Past simple)

However, here you need to be cautious, because sometimes the time limits are very blurred and it's hard to say whether any period has ended or not.

For example:

I have drunk two cups of coffee today.

Today is not over and we can safely use our Present perfect, talking about the action. BUT

I drank a cup of coffee this morning.

This morning has already passed and everything that we did at this time, remains in the past and is narrated with the help of Past simple.

 

3. In addition, Present perfect is used when it comes to just or recently (without indicating the time) completed events. In this case, we often have the indicators of Present perfect: already, yet, just.

They have just married! What a beautiful couple!

4. Present perfect is used with words for and since when it comes to situations that began in the past and have not ended by this time.

We have had this car for 10 years.

I have been here since morning.

We hope that now this tricky tense is not so difficult anymore, because we really need it so often that the question arises involuntarily: "How did we do without it before ?!"

 

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