Present Perfect for intermediate learners

Present perfect is a useful tense that talks about an action that happened in an indefinite time in the past. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.

"Present Perfect" Tense in English Grammar

What Is the Present Perfect Tense?

We use the present perfect tense in English to talk about actions that happened in the past but are somehow related to the future.

Using the Present Perfect Tense

The present perfect tense is used to express:

  • Unfinished actions

I have known him since 1998.

Hanna has lived in China for five years.

She has worked here for a year.

  • Actions in the past

I have watched this movie.

I have tasted fish before.

I have lost my keys.

  • Unspecific times

Using Present Perfect to Talk about Something That Started in the Past and Continues in the Present

She has studied literature.

I have been to Italy.

Peter has talked to him.

How to Form the Present Perfect Tense

Based on the subject of the sentence, 'have' or 'has' is used followed by the verb + -ed (past participle), However, there are some verbs that are not followed by -ed (irregular verbs). Here are a few examples:

We have ordered fish.

She has talked to me.

Let us take a look at some irregular verbs:

Verb Past Participle
eat eaten
drink drunk
buy bought
feel felt
go gone
have had
see seen

Let us take a look at a few examples in the past perfect tense with irregular verbs:

I have seen Jimmy.

She has had a blue car.

He has gone to Japan.


To make a negative sentence, you must add the word 'not' after 'have'/'has'. For example:

I have not watched this movie.

She has not smoked.

Question Form

To make a yes/no question, have/has is placed at the beginning of the question. To make a wh- question all you have to do is use a yes/no question after the wh-word. For example:

Have you been to China?

Where have you been?


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