Present Perfect Tense
The present perfect tense can be challenging for people who speak different languages, however, it is a significant part of English. Although the structure of the present perfect tense is simplistic, using it the proper way can be difficult. There are some variations between British and American English which can become confusing.
How Do We Make The Present Perfect Tense?
Here is the structure of the present perfect tense:
|subject||+||auxiliary verb||+||main verb|
|subject||auxiliary verb||main verb|
|–||She||has||not||been||to the US.|
|?||Have(auxiliary verb)||they(subject)||done||their work?|
Contractions With The Present Perfect Tense
We usually contract the subject and auxiliary verb when using the present perfect tense while speaking. Writing is another situation where we do this.
|The bus has||bus’s|
Here are some examples:
- I’ve eaten my dinner.
- Kaylie‘s seen the Titanic.
- They’ve gone skating.
How do we use the Present Perfect Tense?
There is always a connection with the past and with the present, when using the present perfect tense. This tense has three different uses:
- continuing situation
When talking about experience from the past, we often use present perfect tense. It is not a question of when you did something, but if you did it:
|I have been to Thailand.
She has eaten sushi.
Tim has worked on cars.
|The action or statement took place in the past.||I now have a memory in my head.|
Connection with past: the event took place in the past.
Connection with present: I have experienced the event and know something about it. I have a memory of the event and it is in my head now.
Talking about a change or new information allows us to use the present perfect tense:
|She has bought a new cat.|
|Last week she did not have a cat.||Now she has a cat.|
|Maria has hit her head.|
|Yesterday Maria’s head was fine.||Now she has a sore head.|
|Has the temperature gone up?|
|Was the temperature 20 degrees yesterday?||Is the temperature 25 degrees today?|
|The dog has been found.|
|Yesterday the dog was lost.||Now it is home.|
Connection with past: the past is the opposite of the present.
Connection with present: the present is the opposite of the past.
For A Continuing Situation
When talking about a continuing situation, we often use the present perfect tense. This is a state that continues in the present and started in the past, continuing into the future. This is not an action, it is a state. For a state we will use for or since.
|I have been here since 3:00pm.
She has been absent for a week.
How long have you been standing there?
|The situation began in the past.||It continues to the present.||(It will most likely continue into the future.)|
Connection with past: the situation started in the past.
Connection with present: the situation continues in the present.
For And Since With Present Perfect Tense
For and since are often used with the present perfect tense. For is used when speaking about a certain period of time: 2 seconds, 3 weeks, 4 decades. Since is used when speaking about a certain period of time that started or took place in the past: 11:00 pm, December 3rd, Wednesday
|a period of time||a point in past time|
|2 seconds||11:00 pm|
Here are some examples:
- I have stood here for an hour.
- I have helped her since 9 o’clock this morning.
- Kaylie has not called for two weeks.
- Mark has not texted me since March.
- He has worked at the pizzeria for a long time.
- He has traveled the world since he quit his job.