The present perfect tense refers to an action that started in the past but is finished now. Specifically it can describe a situation that started in the past and is still continuing to this day, an action where the time is not important, a repeated action in an unspecified period of time and an action that isn’t finished yet. It is formed with the auxiliary verb “have” in the corresponding form for the subject of the sentence followed by the participle of the main verb.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
|I have lived in London for twenty years.||These situations started in the past and are still continuing to this day.|
|He has been in the USA since 1999.|
|I have finished my homework.||These are situations where the time is unimportant.|
|Mark has washed his clothes.|
|I have been to Thailand three times.||These are repeated actions in an unspecified amount of time.|
|We have cooked at home every day of the week.|
|It has snowed a lot this winter.||These are actions which have not finished yet.|
|I have studied history all my life.|
To ask questions in present perfect tense, you will need to use the following formula: Interrogative + subject + past participle. For example: Has she arrived?
You can ask questions with the present perfect tense by using the following words for the relevant pronouns:
- “Has” for he, she, it. For example: Has he written the book?
- “Have” for you, we and they. For example: Have they walked?
You can add “not” after “has” or “have”. For example: Has he not walked here? Have they not attended the meeting?
You can abbreviate “has not” to “hasn’t” and “have not” to “haven’t”.
Let’s do some exercises with what we have learned already. Place the appropriate present perfect word in the gaps and take note that some of these sentences will need to use “not” to make sense: sing, work, lead, prepare, read, traveled, swim, play, be, steal, cough, clean.
- He __________ in this company for 20 years now.
- I ___________ the house for the past 2 hours.
- She ____________ football before.
- I ___________ to the UK before, to be honest.
- I ___________ books lately.
- I ___________ to the party but I didn’t like it so I came back.
- She __________ singing that song since Friday!
- He ___________ this project ever since the beginning.
- Lisa ____________ for Johnny’s birthday party.
- They ____________ in the pool for a while now.
- I don’t know how to say this but I ____________ your food from the fridge.
- He _____________ because of his cold.