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The Present Perfect Tense

We use the present perfect tense to connect the past to the present. We often use the Present Perfect to talk about a continuing situation, change or experience.

This tense is expressed by adding one of the auxiliary verbs — have, has, or had — to the past participle form of the main verb. The past participle of a regular verb is the base word plus –ed.

Continuing Situations This is a state that started in the past and continues in the present (and will probably continue into the future).

For example: I have worked here for 2 years.

She has been sick since Monday.

How long have you known him?

I have been here for 10 minutes.

She has been here since 9am.

We often use for and since with perfect tenses:

  • We use for to talk about a period of time: five minutes, two weeks, six years

  • We use since to talk about a point in past time: 9 o'clock, 1st January, Monday

Change (different from the past in the present)

For example: The police have arrested the murderer. (in the past he was free, but in the

present he is in prison)

Has the price gone up? (in the past it was less than it is now)

I have bought a new TV. (in the past I had an old TV, but today I have a new


Experience (the experience was in the past but now you have the experience)

For example: Have you been to London?

I have eaten shark meat.

I have never seen a ghost.

In the present perfect questions are formed by changing the word order and we use never for negative experiences.

Let's practice!

Complete the following sentences using the correct form of the verb in brackets, fill in the missing words, and answer the questions as they are true for you.

  1. I have _____ (buy) a house.

  2. I have _____ (see) that movie.

  3. Have you ever ______ (stay) at a hotel?

  4. I have _______ (not play) Fortnight.

  5. They haven't ______ (live) here for many years.

  6. She ______ never worked a day in her life!

  7. They ______ eaten at that restaurant before.

  8. The dog _____ not ____ (eat) yet.

  9. I have ______ (study) English.

  10. Have you ever ______ (eat) snails?

  11. Have you ____ (be) to Antartica?

  12. How long have you ______ (live) in your current home?

  13. Your children have ______ (grow) so much since the last time I saw them.

  14. I have been working here since/for 3 years.

  15. She has been in London since/for 1998.

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