Present Perfect



The same form (have + past participle) exist in may European languages, but the uses in English are different.  In English the Present Perfect is essentially a present tense but it also expresses the effect of past activities on the present.

 

Present Perfect means ‘before now’.  The Present perfect does not express when an action happened.  If we say the exact time, we have to use past Simple.


Form


 


Use

  • It expresses an action which began in the past and still continues.

We have lived in the same house for twenty-five years.

  • It expresses an experience that happened at sometime in one’s life.  The action is in the past and finished, but the effect of the action are still felt.  When the action happened is not important.

How many times has he been married?  (in his life)

  • It expresses a past action that has a present result.  The action is usually in recent past.

I have lost my wallet.  (I haven’t got it now.)

 

Words are often used in Present Perfect:

Just                       : a short time ago

Already                   : before you expected/before I expected

Yet                        : until now (in negative and interrogative sentences)

Ever (in interrogative sentences)

Never (in interrogative sentences)

 

Examples:

I have just received a letter from my brother, Tim.

He has just bought an Australian car and he has gone to Alice Springs.

He has been there for six months.

 

The Example of Dialogue Using Present Perfect

Mr. Hill         : Good afternoon.

  I believe that this house is for sale.

Mr. West       : That’s right.

Mr. Hill         : May I have a look at it please?

Mr. West       : Yes, of course.  Come in.

Mr. Hill         : How long have you lived here?

Mr. West       : I have lived here for twenty years.

Mr. Hill         : Twenty years!  That’s a long time.

Mr. West       : Yes, I have been here since 1947.

Mr. Hill         : Then why do you want to sell it?

Mr. West       : Because I have just retired. 

  I want to buy a small house in the country.

Mr. Hill         : How much does this house cost?

Mr. West       : £6850

Mr. Hill         : That’s a lot of money!

Mr. West       : It’s worth every penny of it.

Mr. Hill         : Well, I like the house, but I can’t decide yet. 

  My wife must see it first.

Mr. West       : Women always have the last word.

(Taken from First Things First) 


The Example of Text using Present Perfect

An Exciting Trip

 

I have just received a letter from my brother, Tim.  He is in Australia.  He has been there for six months.  Tim is an engineer.  He is working for a big firm and he has already visited a great number of different places in Australia.  He has just bought an Australian car and he has gone to Alice Springs, a small town in the centre of Australia.  He will soon visit Darwin.  From there, he will fly to Perth.  My brother has never been abroad before, so he is finding this trip very exciting.

(Taken from Practice and Progress)

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