Grammar: Present Perfect

Published 10/08/2015 In Blog


The Present Perfect is a tense we use to talk about an action/event that took place in the past but the exact time is not important.


How do we construct the Present Perfect?

We form the Present Perfect with the auxiliary verb 'to have' + Past Participle.


Example: I have eaten an apple

               She has been to India recently

               They have read Harper Lee's new novel late



Time expressions used with the Present Perfect

We can sometimes limit the experience we have had at some point in our lives before now with time expressions such as: in the last week, in the last month, so far, up to now, etc.


I have seen Mary three times in the last week

He has not spoken to his brother in the last month

They have not worked on his project so far


** Remember that last year is a time expression that we use with the Past Simple and it is different to in the last year, which requires the Present Perfect.


Last year means the year before now

In the last year means 365 days ago until now



In what situations do we use the Present Perfect?

Many students have difficulty understanding the concept of "unspecified time", so it is better to relate the Present Perfect with the following ideas:


1. We use the Present Perfect to talk about our EXPERIENCES:


I have been to Thailand three times

He has never been skiing

Has she ever been to China?

No, she has never been to China


Note that we never use the Present Perfect to talk about a specific event.



2. To talk about CHANGES!


The tree in the garden has grown so much since December

Michael has changed a lot in the past months





Doctors have developed a new drug against Alzheimers

My daughter has learned to walk





I have just finished my homework

She has already read the book, so she wants to buy a new one





Paul has not arrived yet

Susan has not finished her homework



Get additional practice by doing the activity on the Present Perfect that you will find on this blog:

Hopefully this post will have helped to understand when and how we use the Present Perfect, but don't please hesitate contacting me if you still have any doubts at:




present perfect english grammar

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