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Present perfect simple

( Free Online English Grammar Lessons )

Read time : 5 minutes

Present Perfect Simple Form : (Have / has + past participle (verb 3))

In English we use the present perfect simple to talk about the following situations :

  • to describe experiences in the past without saying when they happened
  • to talk about actions that have happened a short time ago without saying when
  • to talk about a period of time that continues from the past until now
  • to answer questions about how many
  • unfinished time
  • with sentences starting with 'It's the first time...'
  • with superlatives
  • to talk about change

When we use the present perfect, there is a connection with now. The action in the past has a present result.

Notes for use of present perfect simple :

We can use the words 'just', 'yet' and 'already' with the present perfect simple. We use 'just' to mean a short time ago, 'yet' to mean until now, when the speaker is expecting something to happen, and 'already' when something happened sooner than expected. We use 'just' and 'already' between the auxiliary verb 'have' or 'has' and the main verb in positive sentences. We use 'yet' at the end of negative sentences and questions.

When we start a sentence with the phrase "It's the first time", "It's the second time", etc, we continue with the present perfect simple tense.

The verb 'go' has two past participles : Been / Gone

In English we use 'been' when we talk about going somewhere and coming back and we use 'gone' to indicate the person is still there.

The table below shows the different forms of present perfect simple :

Example verb : GoI / You / We / theyHe / She / It
Positive...'ve gone ......'s gone ...
Negative... haven't gone ...... hasn't gone ...
QuestionsHave ... gone ...?Has ... gone?
Short answers

Yes, ... have. /

No, ... haven't.

Yes, ... has. /

No, ... hasn't.

Present Perfect Simple Example Sentences : 

Positive Examples of Present Perfect Simple :

  • I've been to London.
  • We've had three meetings today.
  • They've already finished the project.
  • She's just arrived home.
  • It's the second time I've been to Brighton.

Negative Examples of Present Perfect Simple :

  • I haven't started my new job yet.
  • We haven't been to Paris before.
  • The film hasn't started yet.
  • They haven't worked together before.
  • He hasn't found his keys.

Question Examples of Present Perfect Simple :

  • Have you done your homework yet?
  • Which countries have you visited?
  • Who have you invited to the party so far?
  • What have you done this week?
  • How have you been?

In English we often use the present perfect simple with 'ever' and 'never'. 'Ever' means at any time in your life until now. It is often used in questions for emphasis.

Examples Sentences :

  • Have you ever met a famous person?
  • Have you ever been to Egypt?
  • Have you ever seen a tiger in the wild?

'Ever' is also used with nothing and nobody to talk about things that haven't happened.

Example Sentences :

  • Nobody has ever travelled through time.
  • Nothing has ever tasted as good as home cooking.

'Ever' is also used with 'the first time' for first experiences.

Example Sentences :

  • This is the first time I have ever seen a giraffe in real life.
  • This is the first time I have ever eaten kangaroo.

'Never' is originally the contraction of 'not ever'. Never means the subject hasn't had a certain experience before.

Example Sentences :

  • I've never been abroad.
  • I've never gone skiing.
  • I've never had a cat.

In English 'Never' can be used in negative questions to show surprise that someone hasn't had a particular experience before.

Example Questions :

  • Have you never played tennis?
  • Have you never seen the film Titanic?

In English we use the present perfect simple with superlatives.

Example Sentence :

  • She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen.

In English we also use the present perfect simple to describe change.

Example Sentence :

  • The former small, country town has become a bustling city almost overnight.

In English we often use the present perfect simple tense to talk about a continuing situation. This is a state that started in the past and continues in the present (and will probably continue into the future). This is a state (not an action). We usually use 'for' or 'since' with this structure.

Example Sentences :

  • I have worked here since June.
  • He has been ill for 2 days.
  • How long have you known Tara?

We use 'for' to talk about a period of time - 5 minutes, 2 weeks, 6 years.

We use 'since' to talk about a point in past time - 9 o'clock, 1st January, Monday.

Example Sentences :

  • I have been here for 20 minutes. / I have been here since 9 o'clock.
  • John hasn't called for 6 months. / John hasn't called since February.
  • He has worked in New York for a long time. / He has worked in New York since he left school.

In English, 'For' can be used with all tenses. 'Since' is usually used with perfect tenses only.

Although the above use of present perfect simple is normally limited to non-continuous verbs and non-continuous uses of mixed verbs, the words "live," "work," "teach," and "study" are sometimes used in this way even though they are NOT non-continuous verbs.

In English we don't usually use the present perfect continuous with verbs that talk about short actions such as start, find, lose, break, buy, stop, etc. Then we use present perfect simple.

  • I've started a course. NOT I've been starting a course.


Be going to
Be going to passive
Be used to / Get used to
Comparative
Defining relative clause
Echo tag
Expression
First conditional
Future
Future continuous
Future perfect continuous
Future perfect passive
Future perfect simple
Future simple passive
Greeting
Have/Get something done
Imperative
Implied conditional
Indirect question
Infinitive of purpose
Interjection
Mixed conditional
Modal
Modal passive
Non-defining relative clause
Other
Past continuous
Past continuous passive
Past perfect continuous
Past perfect passive
Past perfect simple
Past simple
Past simple passive
Polite request / offer / suggestion
Present continuous
Present continuous passive
Present perfect continuous
Present perfect passive
Present perfect simple
Present simple
Present simple passive
Question tag
Reduced relative clause
Reported speech imperative
Reported speech question
Reported speech request
Reported speech statement
Second conditional
Short answer
Superlative
Third conditional
Used to / would (past habit)
Was/were going to
Was/were supposed to
Wish
Would rather
Zero conditional