How To Use The Present Perfect Simple Tense

How To Use The Present Perfect Simple Tense

What is the present perfect simple tense?

The present perfect simple is used to connect past events or actions to the present.

 

How is the present perfect simple formed?

 

Affirmative
subject (I, you, he, she, it, we, they, etc.)
+
to have
+
past participle
Example: I have eaten.

Negative
subject
+
to have
+
not
+
past participle
Example: I have not (haven’t) eaten.

Interrogative
to have
+
subject
+
past participle
Example: Have you eaten?

 

How do I know it’s the present perfect simple?

Often, you use this tense with these words:

  • ever
  • never
  • never + before
  • never + until
  • just
  • already
  • still
  • yet

 

10 situations and 30 clear examples of when to use the present perfect simple

Use this tense if you want to do the following things:

1. Ask somebody for an update on an expected activity

Have you finished the report yet?
Has she filled out the form?
Has he finished cooking dinner?

2. Ask somebody about their past experiences

Have you ever worked for an international company?
Have you ever been to Spain?
Have you ever managed a team?

3. Talk about something that you have never experienced

I have never driven on the left side of the road.
He has never been wrong.
She has never given me negative feedback.

4. Stress that you are experiencing something for the first time

I have never eaten chicken before. This is delicious!
I have never heard of him (until you mentioned his name just now).
I have never been so happy to see him. (This is the first time I am experiencing such a level of happiness.)

5. State what has happened recently

I have just finished washing the dishes.
I have just graduated.
Have you been here long? No, I have just arrived.
My car has been stolen!

6. Show surprise about something being done quicker than expected

They’ve already arrived? I expected them to be late.
She’s already finished the presentation. I’m surprised it took her only an hour.

7. Explain that something you expect to happen is still in the process of taking place

I’m working day and night, but I still haven’t finished the manuscript.
I haven’t called the customer yet. I will do it this afternoon.
We haven’t decided on a logo yet.

8. Convey lengths of time

How long have you been married? I have been married for 5 years.
I have wanted to work for your company since college.

9. Focus on the quantifiable results of an action

I have written 3 books.
He has become proficient in 5 languages.
We have launched 6 products this year.
We have generated $5M in revenue this quarter.

10. Talk about experiences you have had already

I have already seen that movie.
I have visited Italy before. It was spectacular.
I have (already) expressed my concerns.

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