Present Perfect Tense
Remember! There are 2 primary reasons
to use the Present Perfect Tense.
The Rest of the Story
To talk about a completed past action at a non-specific
time. The action is finished. You don’t know, care or
remember when it happened.
For example: I’ve read that book before.
She’s already done her homework.
With the words “for” and “since” to talk about something that
began in the past and continues to now.
For example: I’ve studied at this school since last June.
She’s lived in West Palm Beach for 2 months.
When we use the Present Perfect with “for” or
“since” it gives the idea that something began in
the past and continues into the present (and may
continue into the future.)
SINCE + POINT IN TIME
Use the present perfect with “since” + point in time
(since 5:00, since Monday, since 1994) to show
when something started.
I’ve worked at this job since last year.
He’s lived in Florida since March.
They’ve been married since 1985.
FOR + LENGTH OF TIME
Use the Present perfect with “for” + length of time (for
ten minutes, for two weeks, for years, for a long time)
to show how long a present condition has lasted.
I’ve worked at this job for one year.
He’s lived in Florida for 9 months.
They’ve been married for a long time.
SINCE can also introduce a time clause.
OK…..So what’s a time clause?
Take a look at the following examples:
I’ve lived in Lake Worth since I moved to Florida.
When the action in the time clause ended in the
past, use the simple past tense in the time clause.
(“moved to Florida” is over…it happened…it is finished.)
I’ve studied at the AEC since I’ve lived in Florida.
When the action in the time clause began in the
past but continues into the present, use the
(I still live in Florida.)
How do we ask questions using this tense?
When we want to know the length of
time something has taken place we use
the question words “HOW LONG.”
How long have you lived in West Palm Beach?
I’ve lived here for 2 years.
How long has she studied English at the AEC?
She’s studied at the AEC since 2005.
Wake up! Back to Reason #1
(completed past action at a non-specific time)
We often use the Present Perfect with already to
talk about things that have happened before now.
I’ve already eaten breakfast.
She’s already read that book.
You’re too late. He’s
already left for school. He’s left for school
Already usually comes between have and
the past participle. However, it can also
come at the end of the clause. Take a
Use the present perfect with not yet to talk about
things that have not happened before now.
We’re hungry. We haven’t eaten lunch yet.
Sure I’ll go with you. I haven’t seen that movie yet.
We’ve waited for an hour, but they haven’t arrived yet.
They haven’t yet arrived. (This is OK.)
Notice that yet usually comes at the end of the clause.
However, it can also come between the ‘have not’ and
the past participle.
We usually use yet in questions to find out if
something has happened before now.
Have you bought your mother a present yet?
Has she seen that movie yet?
Have they left for school
Sometimes we use already in a question to
express surprise that something happened
sooner than expected.
Have you already bought your mother a present?
I didn’t know you had a chance to go shopping.
Have they already left for school? It’s so early.