Present Perfect

Present Perfect Tense

The present perfect is used to describe an action that began in the past and continues to exist in the present.

Use. Both the present perfect and simple past both describe events that began in the past and were completed in the past.

Differences: 

  1. Only the past simple can be used with a time element (“seven o’clock” or a time word such as yesterday).  I studied for my exam yesterday/last week/at seven o’clock.
  2. The present perfect is used when the event has a direct relationship to the present. (uses words such as already, just, or yet). I have already studied for my exam so I can come to your party. 
  3. In the Past Simple, negative statements “only” negate the positive. In the Present Perfect, negative statements both negate the positive AND show the intention to complete the action sometime in the future.  

Form. have/has + past participle (bare infinitive + “ed” for regular verbs)

The following words are often used in this tense: already, ever, for…, just, never, recently, since, so far, until recently.

Positive Statement

SubjectAuxiliary Verb (have/has)Main Verb (for regular verbs, bare infinitive + "ed"Objectwherewhenhowwhy
Ihavestudied formy history examalready.
Youhavestudied foryour history examalready.
Shehasstudied forher history examalready.
Wehavestudied forour history examsalready.
Theyhavestudied fortheir history examsalready.

Question

"W" Question WordAuxiliary Verb (has/have)SubjectMain Verb (bare infinitive + "ed" in regular verbs)Objectwherewhenhowwhy
WherehaveIleftmy car keys?
Have youforgottenyour office keys?
HowhasBobmanaged to losehis house keys?
Havewereceiveddirectionsto the party?
Whyhavethe people (they)leftworkalready?

Negative Statement

SubjectAuxiliary Verb (have/has)"not" + Main Verb (bare infinitive + "ed"Objectwherewhenhowwhy
Ihavenot brushedmy teethyet/this morning.
Youhavenot brushedyour teethyet/this morning.
Julianhasnot brushedhis teethyet/this morning.
Wehavenot brushedour teethyet/this morning.
Theyhavenot brushedtheir teethyet/this morning.

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