Present Perfect Diagram
We use the Present Perfect for actions in the past which have a connection to the present. The time when these actions happened is not important.
We use the Present Perfect for recently completed actions.
We use the Present Perfect for actions beginning in the past and still continuing.
just, yet, never, already, ever, so far, up to now, recently, since, for
Present Perfect Use
The Present Perfect is not easy to understand for ESL learners. It is a combination of past and present. An action in the past has something to do with the present.
We use the Present Perfect tense for unfinished and finished actions:
|We use this tense when we want to talk about unfinished actions that started in the past and continue to the present. Usually we use it to say ‘how long’ an action or state has continued with ‘since’ and ‘for’. Often, we use stative verbs in this situation:
|‘Since’ and ‘For’|
|We use ‘since’ with a fixed time in the past (2004, April 23rd, last year, two hours ago). The fixed time can be another action, indicated with the past simple (since I was at school, since I arrived):
We use ‘for’ with a period of time (2 hours, three years, six months):
|1: Life experience
(we don’t say when the experience happened, just sometime in the past)
- I have been to Tokyo.
- She has lived in Germany.
- They have visited Paris three times.
- We have never seen that film.
- Have you ever read ‘War and Peace’?
2: A finished action with a result in the present (focus on result)
- I‘ve lost my keys (so I can’t get into my house).
- She‘s hurt her leg (so she can’t play tennis today).
- They‘ve missed the bus (so they will be late).
- I‘ve cooked dinner (so you should come and eat).
3: With an unfinished time word (this month, this week, today, in the last year)
- I haven’t seen her this month.
- She‘s drunk three cups of coffee today.
- This week they‘ve been shopping four times.
Note: We can’t use the present perfect with a finished time word:
- I’ve seen him yesterday.
|‘Been’ and ‘Gone’|
|In this tense, we use both ‘been’ and ‘gone’ as the past participle of ‘go’, but in slightly different circumstances.|
|We use ‘been’ (often when we talk about ‘life experience’) to mean that the person being talked about has visited the place, and come back. Notice the preposition ‘to’:
|We use ‘gone’ (often when we are talking about an action with a result in the present) to mean that the person is at the place now: