Present Perfect Tense

What is present perfect tense?

The present perfect tense is really a very interesting tense. It can make peculiar challenges to people who are learning English as a second language. Most learners feel this is one of the most difficult tenses to use correctly. In fact, the structure of the present perfect tense is very simple. The problems come with the use of the tense. I hope the rules below are helpful.

Rule 1 Unspecified Time before Now

The present perfect tense connects the present to the past. It is used to express actions that happened at an unspecified time or that began in the past and continue in the present.The exact time is not important.

Note: We cannot use Present Perfect with specific time expressions, can only use with unspecific expressions.

Specific time expressions: yesterday, one year ago, last week, etc.

Unspecific time expressions: ever, never, already, yet, just, once, many times, several times, before, so far, etc.

Examples:
I have seen that movie.
I have met her once before.
We have lived in London.
He has never been abroad.

Remember:
You should not use this tense with time expressions like yesterday, a week ago, last year, etc.
I have seen her yesterday.
We have gone to California last year.

“Unspecified time” can be very confusing to learners. Hope the following topics will be useful to understand.

Life experience:

We often use the present perfect tense to talk about experience from the past. we don’t say when the experience happened, just sometime in the past.

  • I have been to Canada.
  • She has lived in India.
  • They have visited The Iguazu Waterfalls three times.
  • We have never seen that film.

Finished action with a result in the present:

We also use the present perfect tense to talk about a past action that has the result in the present.

  • I have lost my pan card
  • They have missed the bus

Change over time:

  • I have bought a car.
  • You have grown since the last time I saw you.
  • My English has really improved.

Rule 2: Continuation in the present

We use the present perfect tense to talk about an action which started in the past and continuous up to now.

  • He has worked as a teacher for over 25 years.
  • She has achieved a lot in his life.
  • How long have you been at this website?

How do we make the simple present tense?

The present perfect tense is formed by using has or have with the past participle form of the verb.

General Structure

  • 1. Affirmative (Positive) Sentence
Subject Auxiliary Verb Rest of the sentence.
I, We, You, They have Past Participle Rest of the sentence.
He, She, It has Past Participle Rest of the sentence.
  • 2. Negative Sentence
Subject Auxiliary +Not Verb Rest of the sentence.
I, We, You, They have + not Past Participle Rest of the sentence.
He, She, It has + not Past Participle Rest of the sentence.
  • 3. Yes/No type Question
Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest of the sentence?
Have I, We, You, They Past Participle Rest of the sentence?
Has He, She, It Past Participle Rest of the sentence?
  • 4. Information Question?
Question Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest of the sentence?
QW have I, We, You, They Past Participle Rest of the sentence?
QW has He, She, It Past Participle Rest of the sentence?

Important Note:

Verb – Past Participle
Auxiliary verb – Have and Has
I, We, You, They – Have
He, She, It – Has

1. Affirmative (Positive) Sentences

Subject Auxiliary Past Participle Rest of the sentence
I have had breakfast already.
You have initiated the communication.
We have sent a request.
He has finished his work.
She has achieved a lot in her life.
It has stopped working.
They have rejected me.

2. Negative Sentences

Subject Auxiliary + Not Past Participle Rest of the sentence
I have not had breakfast already.
You have not initiated the communication.
We have not sent a request.
He has not finished his work.
She has not achieved in her life.
It has not stopped working.
They have not rejected me.

3. Yes/No type Question

Auxiliary Subject Past Participle Rest of the sentence?
Have I had breakfast?
Have you initiated the communication?
Have we sent a request?
Has he finished his work?
Has She achieved in her life?
Has it stopped working?
Have they rejected me?

4. Information Questions

Question Auxiliary Subject Past Participle
Rest of the sentence?
When have I work breakfast?
Where have you initiated the communication?
Why have we sent a request?
How has he finished his work?
What has she achieved in her life?
How long has it stopped working?
Why have they rejected me?
Where does Ram live ?
One comment on “Present Perfect Tense
  1. Fatima khan ghori says:

    it is very helpful for me or an learner and every one can understand it very easily.

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