The Present Perfect tense refers to an action or state that either occurred at an indefinite time in the past (e.g., we have met before) or began in the past and continued to the present (e.g., he has learnt much over the last month).
We use the Present Perfect to ask about life experiences. We often use the adverb ‘ever’ to talk about experience up to the present:
- I’ve been to India twice.
- She hasn’t eaten sushi.
This tense expresses actions of duration that occurred in the past (before now) but are of unspecified time:
Positive and negative forms of Present Perfect
To form the Present Perfect use:
[Subject] + has/have + Past Participle of verb
- Tom has been to London.
- Sue has been to London too.
- They have (both) been to London.
- Sue hasn’t been to Paris.
- Sue has never been to Paris.
In negative forms, we add ‘not‘ or use ‘never‘:
- Have you ever met George?
- Yes, but I’ve never met his wife.
haven’t (have not)
hasn’t (has not)
Questions in Present Perfect
- Tom: Have you ever been to London?
- Sue: Yes, I have.
- Tom: Me too. What about Paris? Have you ever been to Paris?
- Sue: No, I haven’t – but I’d love to go!
With short answers, we use:
- Have you ever been to London?
- Yes, I / you / we / they have. – Yes, he / she / it has.
- No, I / you / we / they haven’t. – No, he / she / it hasn’t.
The Past Participles of regular verbs end in ‘ed’:
- Tom has visited Big Ben.
- He has walked in Hyde Park.
- He has travelled on a red bus.
A lot of common verbs have irregular past participles:
- He has been to London.
- He has seen the river Thames.
- He has eaten fish and chips.
|go → been||buy → bought|
|see → seen||drive → driven|
|eat → eaten||have → had|
|drink → drunk||write → written|
Present Perfect & Past Simple
- Tom has been to London. (Present Perfect)
- He went there in 2016. (Past Simple)
We use the Present Perfect to talk about life experiences. However, we use the Past Simple when we talk about an action at a definite past time.
Check out this video and learn how to use Present Perfect to talk about past experiences: