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Present Perfect Tense

by | Mar 21, 2020 | English Grammar, Verb Tenses | 0 comments

The Present perfect tense is one of those tenses of the English grammar that can easily confuse language learners sometimes. The Present Perfect tense is formed with the appropriate form of the verb “have” and the past participle (V3). In this lesson you will learn how to use this tense effectively.

How to use the Present Perfect Tense

1. Use the present perfect when you don’t know when an action happened or the specific time is irrelevant.


  • I’ve started my homework. (it doesn’t matter when, the important thing is that I’ve started it.)
  • Have you been to Australia?
  • I have seen the Avengers movie three times.

2. Use this tense when the action in the past has a connection with the present/now.


– Where’s your wallet?
– I don’t know. I’ve lost it. (Maybe I lost it two hours ago, but now I don’t have it.)

3. Use the Present Perfect when you are talking about a time period that has not finished yet.


  • I have read two books this week. (The week is not over yet, and I’ll probably read more books.)
  • I have had two cups of coffee this morning. (It’s still morning, and I may drink a third cup of coffee, or more.)
  • I have lived here all my life. (I still live here.)

4. Use it when an action finished right before the present. When this is the case, use “just”. It means “a short time ago”. “Just” comes between the auxiliary verb (have/has) and the past participle.


  • She has just left.
  • They’ve just finished.

Signal words

already, ever, just, recently, never, How long, not yet, so far, till now, up to now

Present Perfect – Sentence Structures

Affirmative Sentence Structure:

Subject Auxiliary verb Past participle Rest of the sentence
I / You have opened the window.
He / She / It has opened the window.
We / You / They have opened the window.

Negative Sentence Structure:

Subject Auxiliary verb + NOT Past participle Rest of the sentence
I / You have not or haven’t opened the window.
He / She / It has not or hasn’t opened the window.
We / You / They have not or haven’t opened the window.

Interrogative Sentence Structure:

Present Perfect Interrogative Sentence


Auxiliary Verb Subject Past participle Rest of the sentence
Have I / you opened the window?
Has he / she / it opened the window?
Have we / you / they opened the window?

Present Perfect – Additional rules

The main verb

In the Present Perfect tense we can use two types of verbs as main verb, the regular verbs and the irregular verbs.

Regular verbs end with “ed”, for example: wanted, opened, answered.

Irregular verbs can take various forms, but with the Present Perfect you have to use the past participle form of the verb. For example: eat-ate-eaten, break-broke-broken


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