The present perfect tense might be a hard tense for learners of English and students often have a hard time keeping the present perfect tense apart from the past simple tense. In this English grammar lesson I am going to show you how to form a present perfect tense, and when to use a present perfect tense. But before we get started it's good to know how to conjugate the verb 'to have'.
For the singular forms:
For the plural forms:
It's also good to know that in the English language there are regular and irregular verbs. And it is advisable that you study the most commonly used irregular verbs.
Now let's get started. Take a look at these sentences:
I have painted the door yellow.
They have paid for dinner themselves.
Both these sentences are in the present perfect tense.
How to form a present perfect tense. Let's have a look at the regular verbs. For the regular verbs we use the auxiliary verb 'to have' and the past participle. You can make the past participle by adding 'ed' to the infinitive form of the verb.
Now let's have a look at the singular forms.
I have worked there.
You have listened carefully.
He has cleared the table.
She has placed it on the floor.
It has snowed.
For the plural forms:
We have walked to school.
You have watched the tennis match.
They have marked the tests.
Now we need to pay extra attention to verbs that end in an 'e'.
Such as live, close and wipe. For these verbs we use the auxiliary verb to
have and the past participle. But the past participle is made by simply adding a '-d' to the verb.
Look at the examples:
I have lived here for quite some time now.
He has closed the window.
They have wiped the floor.
We also need to pay attention to verbs that end in a 'y', especially those preceded by consonant such as spy and study because we change the '-y' into an 'i'.
He has spied on his neighbours.
We have studied hard.
Now let's have a look at the irregular verbs. For the irregular verbs we also use the auxiliary verb to have and the past participle.
But for the irregular verbs the past participle has a unique present perfect form. Take a look at the examples:
I have built that shed with my own two hands. (The infinitive form of the verb is to build.)
She has bought some flowers at the market.(The infinitive form of the verb is 'to buy'.)
We have run the marathon. (The infinitive form of the verb is to run.)
Now let's have a look at the present perfect tense in questions.
First for the regular verbs. Again we use the auxiliary verb 'to
have' and the past participle.
Has she talked to him yet?
Have you kicked the ball?
Have they ever worked on a farm?
For the irregular verbs we also use the auxiliary verb 'to have'
and the past participle, but now the unique present perfect tense form.
Has she quit her job yet?
Have you ever driven a car?
Have they ever paid for dinner?
Let's have a look at the present perfect tense in negations.
For the regular verbs the auxiliary verb 'to have' and we add 'not',
contracting it into haven't or hasn't and the past participle.
I haven't listened to the news.
It hasn't rained since Friday
They haven't closed the window.
For the irregular verbs we also use the verb 'to have', and not contracting it into haven't and hasn't and the past participle.
She hasn't quit her job. (The infinitive form is 'to quit'.)
You haven't ever driven a car. (The infinitive form is 'to drive'.)
They haven't paid for dinner. (The infinitive form of the verb is 'to pay'.)
Let's have a look at the present perfect tense in use. We use the present perfect tense for things that happened in the past, but it is not important when they
I have been to Scotland. It's not important when I've been there, it's important that I've been to Scotland.
They've decided to buy a car. It's not important when they decided it, the decision alone is important.
We also use the present perfect tense for things that started in the past,
that have continued in the present.
Bob and Jack have known each other for ages. (For example they met in the 1970s, and they are still friends.)
They have lived there since 2011. (So they moved there in 2011 and they've continued to live there.)
We also use the present perfect tense, when the following words are in a sentence:
for, yet, never, ever, just, already, since.
Here are some examples:
I have lived here for three years.
We haven't seen that film yet.
Have you ever watched a football game?
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