How and when to use the Present Perfect Simple

How to form and use the Present Perfect Simple?

when to use the present perfect simple?

Many languages have a past tense to refer to past time, and a present tense to refer to present time.

English has these, too, but it also has the present perfect tense, which related past actions to the present.

For many English learners it is difficult to understand the present perfect tense because it doesn’t exist in many other languages.

In this lesson, I’m going to show you how to form the present perfect simple and explain different situations in which you can use it.

**First things first, before I go on, you have to keep in mind that you do not use the present perfect if you are not thinking about the present!**


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Let’s say a few words about the form of the present perfect simple...

The present perfect simple is the present tense of have + past participle (ed-form).

I have played tennis before.

**Remember! I/you/we/you/they have, but he/she/it has.**

  • Most verbs have a past participle ending in -ed, but some past participles are irregular.

 

  • If you remember, there are some spelling rules for the ed-form. I’m going to repeat them briefly:

In verbs ending in e, we just add d, as in close-closed.

We double some consonants, as in stop-stopped.

y changes to ie, as in hurry-hurried.

 

In case you want to refresh your memory, click here to learn about the past simple

We can use the present perfect simple in its positive, negative and interrogative form.


How to form the Present Perfect Simple?

  • To make a positive sentence in the present perfect simple we have:

the subject + have/has + past participle of the main verb + the object

I have played tennis before.

  • To make a negative sentence in the present perfect simple we have:

the subject + have/has + not + past participle of the main verb + the object

I have not/haven’t played tennis before.

 We can also contract have not/has not into haven’t/hasn’t.

 

  • To make a question in the present perfect simple we have:

Have/has + the subject + past participle of the main verb + the object

Have I played tennis before?

Now that I’ve gone through the form of the past progressive, it’s time to explain different situations in which it can be used.


How to use the Present Perfect Simple?

 

There are many different uses of the present perfect simple, so I’m going to mention those that are most common. Here are 6 most general uses of the present perfect simple:

 

1.      We use the present perfect simple to say that a finished action or event is related to the present in some way.

 

  • The time of the action doesn’t need to be mentioned, because it can be unknown or simply unimportant.

Simon has painted a lot of pictures.

  • You can also use the present perfect simple for an action in a period leading up to the present.

The restaurant has just opened. – The restaurant is open now.

 

2.      We use the present perfect simple for a past action with effect that continues up to the present time.

Sarah has taught English for twenty years. – The action (teaching English) began sometime previously, in this case, twenty years ago, but Sarah is still teaching English at the time this sentence was written.

 

3.      We use the present perfect simple for an action which happened in the past and may be repeated.

John is an athlete. He has won more than then medals. – He is still an athlete. He may win more medals.

 

o        The present perfect simple is also used to say that something has happened several times up to the present.

I have written two poems since yesterday.

 

4.      We use the present perfect simple for an action which happened within a specific time period which is not over at the moment of speaking.

I’ve written two letters this morning. – The time period is not over. It is still morning and I may write more letters.

 

5.      The present perfect simple is often used to express the idea of completion or achievement.

At last! I’ve finished all my homework.

 

6.      The present perfect simple is normally used to announce news of recent events.

Aunt Sue has lost her phone again. She left it at the supermarket.

**Note that, after announcing news, we usually use the past simple to give more details.**

 

Here are some specific time markers normally used with the present perfect simple. These can help you remember when to use the present perfect simple.

ever, before, never, yet, recently, lately, already, just, so far, still, today, this morning/evening, for weeks/years, since 2012.

This is it for today!

If you have any questions about the present perfect simple leave a comment below ☺


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