Present Perfect Tense

 The Present Perfect Tense is formed using the following structure:

Affirmative: Subject + Have / Has + Past Participle

Negative: Subject + Haven't / Hasn't + Past Participle

Question: Have / Has + Subject + Past Participle

Affirmative Sentences

Rest of the Sentence
Ihavestudiedfor the exam.
Youhaveboughta new computer.
Hehaseatenmy chocolate.
Shehaswrittenan e-mail.
Ithasbeencold this month.
Wehavewonthe championship.
Youhavetriedto learn a lot.
Theyhaveforgottenmy birthday.


The contracted form of the perfect tense is quite common:

I haveI'veI've spent all my money.
You haveYou'veYou've worn that dress before.
He hasHe'sHe's slept all morning.
She hasShe'sShe's lost her purse.
It hasIt'sIt's fallen off the wall.
We haveWe'veWe've chosen you for the job.
You haveYou'veYou've begun to annoy me.
They haveThey'veThey've drunk too much.

We use contractions a lot when we are speaking.

Negative Sentences

The contraction of the perfect tense in negative form is:
Have not = Haven't
Has not = Hasn't

Rest of the Sentence
Ihaven'tstudiedfor the exam.
Youhaven'tboughta new computer.
Hehasn'teatenmy chocolate.
Shehasn'twrittenan e-mail.
Ithasn'tbeencold this month.
Wehaven'twonthe championship.
Youhaven'ttriedto learn a lot.
Theyhaven'tforgottenmy birthday.


Rest of the Sentence
HaveIbeenchosen for the team?
Haveyouboughta new car?
Hasheeatenmy sandwich?
Hasshewrittenthe letter?
Hasitstartedon time?
Havewewona trophy?
Haveyoukeptmy secret?

When do we use the Present Perfect Tense?

1. Unspecified point in the past

  • have been to Spain three times.
    (At some unspecified time in the past, I went to Spain).

Compare with the simple past:

  • I went to Spain three times in 2005.
    (specified time in the past - the year 2005)

2. An action that occurred in the past, but has a result in the present (now)

  • We can't find our luggage. Have you seen it?
    (The luggage was lost in the past, do you know where it is now?)

3. Talking about general experiences (ever, never)

It usually refers to an event happening at some moment in your life.

  • Has she ever tried Chilean wine before? (in her life)
  • I've never eaten monkey brains before. (in my life)

4. Events that recently occurred (just)

  • Do you want to go to a restaurant with me?
    No, thanks. I've just eaten lunch. (I recently ate lunch.)

5. Events that have not occurred up to now (yet)

  • Are Carlos and Rodrigo here? No, they haven't arrived yet. (they're still not here now)

6. Events that occurred before you expected (already)

  • I've already graduated from University. (I expected to graduate at a later date.)

7. Events that began in the past and haven't changed (for, since)

  • Mike has worked at Woodward for 3 years.
    (Mike started working at Woodward 3 years ago and he still works there now.)
  • Julie has worked at Woodward since September last year.
    (Julie began working at Woodward in September of last year, and that hasn't changed - she still works here now.)

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