Present Perfect

Lesson 15. Present perfect - a very misunderstood tense in English. The lesson comes with a good list of time expressions to use with this tense, e.g. "yet", "never".

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Pressent Perfect - Exercise
  Video Exercise 1   Present Perfect - Exercise 2  PDF Exercise 2

Present Perfect - Revision PDF
  PDF Handout

Lesson transcript

In this lesson we're looking at Present Perfect tense.

Examples of Present Perfect are: 'I have arrived', 'she has asked', and 'they have lived'.

Now Present Perfect is a super-important tense in English and it causes a lot of confusion to students.

In this lesson I'll show you exactly how to use Present Perfect with confidence in your speaking and writing.

Now, we make Present Perfect with 'have' or 'has' plus the verb plus '…ed', and we'll  start with Part 1 – situations used.

Now, so far we've looked at Past Simple which looks like <this> or like <this>.

And as you remember we use Past Simple for actions which finished in the past.

We also looked at Past Continuous which looks like <this> and we use Past Continuous for continuous actions which also finished in the past.

In this lesson we're going to look at Present Perfect tense and this looks like <this>.

As you can see, this is an action which started in the past but continues to the present.

It could also look like <this> – continues to the present or even like <this> – started in the past, continues into the present.

<Here> are three example sentences. The first one is: 'I've lived here for two years'.

The two years – could be <this> or <this>?

And as you can see the two years started in the past, and continues to now.

Second sentence is: 'I've never seen him before'. 'Never before' means all of my life until now.

And finally the third sentence: 'He hasn't played football since 1987' – this could be 1980 and this could be since – until now.

Now, I want to talk for a moment about time expressions and on this page we have four time expressions.

Firstly, we have in this sentence 'for two years'. Next, we have 'never' and 'before' and finally we have in this sentence: 'since 1980'.

Let's look at the full list of time expressions for present perfect.

The first one which we've seen already is 'since January 1982' and so on.

The next one is 'this month / year', 'this century', 'this summer' and so on. For example, 'I have played football twice this month'.

Third example is 'for two weeks', 'for two months', 'for two years'.

Let's look at the second group now: here we have 'before'. We can also have 'yet' which is only used in the question and negative forms.

Next, we have 'always'. The opposite of 'always' is 'never', and finally we have 'ever', which is only used in the question form. For example – 'Have you ever been to Portugal?'.

Three more examples, and these are for an action which is finished in the past but is still relevant now.

So 'already' is the first one, 'just' is the second, and 'recently' is the third.

For example – 'I've just cut my finger' – well, I cut my finger in the past but it's relevant now because it's bleeding; so we use Present Perfect.

Next example is: 'Spielberg has recently made a new film'. Again, he made the new film in the past but it's relevant now because we can watch the film.

So let's summarise what we have so far.
We can use Present Perfect for an action which started in the past and continues to the present. For example 'I've lived here for two years' – started living <here> and continued living into the present.

Time expressions for this use are: 'for two years', 'since', 'always' and so on.

We can also use Present Perfect for an action which is finished but still relevant now.

We had the example of 'I've cut my finger'. We could also have 'I've lost my pen' – so I lost the pen in the past but it is still important because I can't find it now.

Time expressions of this use are 'already', 'just' and 'recently'.

Now, do remember that it's not always necessary to use time expressions for
Present Perfect or for any tense – but it's a good idea to learn them because when you're in conversation it's easier to remember time expressions than it is to remember the rules for the grammar.

So that's the end of Part 1, let's now turn to the verb conjugations for Present Perfect.

We're going to conjugate 'to live' in the positive, in the question and in the negative forms.

So let's begin: Present Perfect – 'to live' – positive form:

– I / you / we / they… have lived
– He / she / it… has lived

For the informal we would say <here>:
– I've lived or:
– You've lived, we've lived and they've lived

<Here> we would say:
– He's lived or she's lived or it's lived.

So that's the positive form, let's now look at the question form and this is:

– Have I / you / we / they… lived? and:
– Has he / she / it… lived?

Don't forget the 'd' on the end. Not: 'Have I live?' – but: 'Have I lived'.

And finally the negative form:

– I / you / we / they… have not lived
– He / she / it… has not lived

For the informal we would say:

– I've not lived or:
– You've not lived, we've not lived, they've not lived or:
– I haven't lived, you haven't lived, we or they haven't lived.

Down <here> we would say:
– He's not lived, or she's not lived or it's not lived or:
– He hasn't lived, she or it hasn't lived.

So those are the verb conjugations for Present Perfect.

We've now reached the end of the lesson. Here is the PDF you to download, and as you can see it has the time expressions that we looked at earlier. It also has the verb conjugations for 'to live', and finally it has some example sentences to remind you of how Present Perfect works.

Join me in Part 3 for the practice exercises, and in the next lesson we're going to look at the top 50 irregular verbs in English.

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Nouns: Countables, Uncountables (1)
Articles (2)
(3) | (Zero Article 4) | The: Special Uses (5)
There is, there are (6)
Quantity: Some, Any (7) | Many, Much, A lot of (8) | A few, a little (9)
Prepositions of time: In, On, At (10)
The Present: Present Simple (11) | Present Continuous (12)
The Past: Past Simple (13) | Past Continuous (14) | Present Perfect (15)
Irregular Verbs (16)
The Future: Future Simple (17) | Future Plans (18)
Phrasal Verbs (19) (20)

     Countable and uncountable nouns 

     Countable and Uncountable
     Learn the two key rules

     "The": Special Uses
      "The": Special Uses
      10 special uses of 'the' here

     Phrasal Verbs - Part 1 

     Phrasal Verbs Part 1
     Each example with a picture

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