When it comes to this topic, probably everyone was tempted, as some point, to genuinely exclaim: „Why can’t I just use the past simple instead?”. Well, the implications of using the present perfect are far greater than what meets the eye. To see exactly how important the present perfect is, let’s „dissect” the change in meaning when talking about the past simple and the present perfect by using the two sentece pair:

E.g.1.  Jane’s hamster has become very sick in his old age. Present perfect in this sentence indicates that Jane’s hamster is still alive. The focus of the sentence is on the hamster has changed between the past and the present.

E.g.2. Jane’s hamster became very sick in his old age. The simple past indicates completion, so in this simple past sentence, the hamster is dead. Also, he was sick before he died.

E.g.1. My mother has cleaned every room of the house. In this present perfect sentence, the focus is on the accomplishment.

E.g..2. My mother cleaned every room of the house. The simple past in this sentence tells us that, on one occasion in the past, my mother cleaned every room of the house – this sentence emphasizes that the event is over.

present_perfect

 

 

 

Use:

We use the present perfect when we talk about something which started in the past and is still the case:

Phil has known his friend Paul since they were twelve.

We use the present perfect to talk about something which happened in the past but which has consequences in the present:

My sister has bought a new laptop (so he is selling his old one).

We use the present perfect when we talk about things which happened in a period of time that is not yet finished (e.g. today, this week):

Maria has had two driving lessons this week.

With the present perfect we often use always, never, often, just and already:

                She’s always loved dogs.

                Laura has never been to Italy.

                She has often forgotten her door key.

                John has just found some coins on the pavement.

                Has Jane already arrived?

Note: 1. We use ever in questions and negative statements:

Have you ever learnt to ski?’/ ‘No, I haven’t ever wanted to.’

2. We use the present perfect with yet to mean ‘up till now’:

                ‘Has your brother finished his homework yet?

                My friend hasn’t arrived yet.

Form:

+form:                S + has/ have (auxiliary verb) + v (past participle)

Note: In conversations, we often contract the auxiliary to ‘s/ ‘ve, particularly after pronouns.

-form:                  S + have not (haven’t)/ has not (hasn’t) + v (past participle)

?form:                  Have/ has + S + v (past participle)

Present perfect simple with since and for:

We use since with a time (e.g. three o’clock, last month):

Andrea has been here since nine o’clock.

We use for with a period of time (e.g. five weeks, ten hours):

Tom has only been here for about two hours.

Let’s practise 🙂 

Complete the following sentences with the correct form of the verb in brackets and either since or for. The first one is done for you.

  1. Ashley (live) …has lived… in a camper van …for… three years.
  2. He (be) ……………………… a writer ……………………. October 1999.
  3. His wife, Stella, (work) …………………………….. on an organic farm ……………….. Ashley gave up his job.
  4. They (not/ eat) ………………………. any meat ………………….. two years.
  5. Ashley (speak) …………………………. French ……………………. he was a child.
  6. They (be) ……………………………. married …………………………….. ten years.
  7. I (not/ see) …………………………… them ……………………………… last January.
  8. He (have) ………………………… a shaved head ……………………. May last year.

Sursa foto aici.

Autor: Ana-Maria Hănţoiu, trainer A_BEST de limba engleză