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Presentperfect grammar
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Presentperfect grammar

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  • 1. PRESENT PERFECT PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE 1 * When we use the present perfect there is a connection with the present: - I've lost my key. (= I haven't got it now) - Jim has gone to Canada. (= He is in Canada or on his way there now) - Oh dear, I've forgotten her name. (= I can't remember it now) - Have you washed your hair? (= Is it clean now?) 2 * We often use the present perfect to give new information or to announce a recent happening: - I've lost my key. Can you help me look for it? - Do you know about Jim? He's gone to Canada. - Ow! I've burnt myself. 3 * You can use the present perfect with just (= a short time ago): - 'Would you like something to eat?' 'No, thanks, I've just had lunch.' - Hello, have you just arrived? 4 * You can use the present perfect with already to say that something has happened sooner than expected: - 'Don't forget to post the letter, will you?' 'I've already posted it'. - 'When is Tom going to start his new job?' 'He has already started.' 5 * Study the difference between gone to and been to: - Ann is on holiday. She has gone to Italy. (= She is there now or she is on her way there.) - Tom is back in England now. He has been to Italy. (= He was there but now he has come back.) 6 * When we talk about a period of time that continues up to the present, we use the present perfect. - 'Have you read Hamlet ?' 'No, I haven't read any of Shakespeare's plays.' - How many times have you been to the United States? - Susan really loves that film. She's seen it eight times. - Sam has lived in Belfast all his life. (= Sam has always lived in Belfast.) 7 * We often use ever and never with the present perfect: - Have you ever eaten caviar? - We have never had a car. 8 * We often use the present perfect after a superlative. - What a boring film! It's the most boring film I've ever seen. 9 * You have to use the present perfect with ‘This is the first time.....’, ‘It's the first time.....’, etc. - This is the first time he has driven a car. (not ‘drives') or: He has never driven a car before. - Tom has lost his passport again. It's the second time he has lost it. (not ‘loses’) - Is this the first time you've been in hospital? (not ‘are’)
  • 2. The Present Perfect 10 * Use the present perfect to say that you have never done something or that you haven't done something during a period of time which continues up to the present: - I have never smoked. - I haven't smoked for three years. (not 'I don't smoke') - I haven't smoked since September. (not 'I don't smoke') - Jill hasn't written to me for nearly a month. (not 'doesn’t write’) - Jill has never driven a car. 11 * We use the present perfect when we are talking about the period between a short time ago and now. - Have you seen my dog? I can't find him anywhere. - Everything's going fine. We haven't had any problems so far. - We've met a lot of interesting people in the last few days. - Fred has been ill a lot in the past few years, hasn't he? - I haven't seen George recently. Have you? 12 * We often use the present perfect with yet. Yet shows that the speaker is expecting something to happen. Use yet only in questions and negative sentences. - Has it stopped raining yet? (not 'did it stop') - I haven't told them about the accident yet. 13 * We use the present perfect with this morning / this evening / today / this week / this term etc. (when these periods are not finished at the time of speaking): - Has Ann had a holiday this year? - I haven't seen Tom this morning. Have you? - Ron hasn't studied very much this term. PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS 1 * We use the present perfect continuous when we talk about an action (quite a long action) which began in the past and has recently stopped or just stopped: - You are out of breath. Have you been running? - That man over there is bright red. I think he's been sunbathing. - Why are your clothes so dirty? What have you been doing? - I've been talking to Tom about your problem.... 2 * We also use the present perfect continuous to ask or say how long something has been happening. This time the action or situation began in the past and is still happening or has just stopped: - How long have you been learning English? - They've been waiting here for over an hour. - I've been watching television since 2 o'clock. - Have you been working hard today?
  • 3. The Present Perfect 3 * You can also use the present perfect continuous (with how long, for and since) for actions repeated over a period of time: - She has been playing tennis since she was eight. - How long have you been smoking? PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS or PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE ? a) Study these situations: - Ann's clothes are covered in paint. She - The ceiling was white. Now it's blue. has been painting the ceiling. She has painted the celing. Has been painting is the present Has painted is the present perfect simple perfect continuous tense. tense. We are interested in the action. It does not matter whether something has been This time, the important thing is that finished or not. In the example, the something has been finished. We are inte- action has not been finished. rested in the result of the action itself. - Tom's hands are very dirty, He has - The car is going again now. Tom has been repairing the car. repaired it. - You've been smoking too much - Somebody has smoked all my cigarettes. recently. You should smoke less. The packet is empty. We use the continuous form to say how We use the simple form to say how much long something has been happening: we have done, how many things we have done, or how many times we have done something: - Ann has been writing letters all day. - Ann has written ten letters today. - How long have you been reading that - How many pages of that book have you book? read? - Jim has been playing tennis since 2 - Jim has played tennis three times this o'clock. week. b) Some verbs are not used in the continuous form, for example know. You have to say have known (not 'have been knowing').
  • 4. The Present Perfect PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS with how long, for and since a) 1.- We use the present perfect continuous to say how long something has been happening. Note that the action is still happening now: - I've been learning English for a long time. - Sorry I'm late. Have you been waiting long? - It's been raining since I got up this morning. 2. - Sometimes the action is a repeated action. - Tom has been driving for ten years. - How long have you been smoking? 3. - The continuous or the simple can be used for actions repeated over a long period: - I've been collecting / I've collected stamps since I was a child. b) 1. - We use the simple for situations that exist for a long time (especially if we say always). Note that the situation still exists now: - My father has always worked hard. 2. - We use the continuous for situations over a shorter time. Compare: - John has been living in London since January. - John has always lived in London. c) Some verbs (for example, be, have, know) are not normally used in the continuous. - How long have Bob and Alice been married? - Tom has had a cold for the past week. (not 'has been having') - Tom and I have known each other since we were at school. d) Do not use the present simple or continuous to say how long something has been happening: - I've been waiting here for an hour (not 'I am waiting') - How long have you known Tom? (not 'do you know') PRESENT PERFECT with HOW LONG and PAST SIMPLE with WHEN 1 * Use the past simple to ask or say when something happened: - A: When did it start raining? B: It started raining at one o'clock / an hour ago. - A: When did Tom and Ann first meet? B: They first met when they were at school / a long time ago. 2 * Use the present perfect to ask or say how long something has been happening (up to the present): - A: How long has it been raining? B: It's been raining since one o'clock / for an hour.
  • 5. The Present Perfect SINCE and FOR 3 * We use both since and for to say how long something has been happening: - I've been waiting for you since 8 o'clock. - I've been waiting for you for two hours. 4 * .- We use since when we say the beginning of the period (8 o'clock) - We use for when we say the period of time (two hours) since for 8 o'clock 1977 two hours a week Monday Christmas ten minutes five years 12 May lunchtime three days a long time April we arrived six months ages - She's been working here since April (= from April until now) - She's been working here for six months.(not 'since six months’) - I haven't seen Tom since Monday. (= from Monday until now) - I haven't seen Tom for three days. (not 'since three days’) 5 * We do not use for in expressions with all (all day / all morning / all week / all my life etc...): - I've lived here all my life. (not 'for all my life') 6 * Note the structure How long is it since....?: - A: How long is it since you had a holiday? B: It's two years since I had a holiday. (= I haven't had a holiday for two years.) - It's ages since Tom visited us (= He hasn't visited us for ages.) PRESENT PERFECT or PAST SIMPLE 1 * The present perfect always tells us something about the present. 'He has lost his key' tells us that he hasn't got it now. The past simple tells us only about the past. If we say 'He lost his key', we don't know whether he has it now or not. We only know that he lost it at some time in the past. - He grew a beard but now he has shaved it off. (= He hasn't got a beard now.) - Prices fell but now they have risen again. (= They are high now.) 2 * Do not use the present perfect for happenings or actions which are not connected with the present (for example, historical events): - The Chinese invented printing. (not 'have invented') - Shakespeare wrote Hamlet. (not 'has written') 3 * We use the present perfect to give new information or to announce a recent happening. But if we continue to talk about it, we normally use the past simple: - A: Ow! I've burnt myself! B: How did you do that? (not 'have you done') A: I touched a hot dish. (not 'have touched') - A: Look! Somebody has spilt milk on the carpet.
  • 6. The Present Perfect B: Well, it wasn't me. I didn't do it. (not 'hasn't been .... haven't done') A: I wonder who it was then. (not 'who it has been') 4 * Do not use the present perfect when you are talking about a finished time in the past (for example: yesterday, two years ago, in 1979, when I was a child). Use a past tense: - Tom lost his key yesterday. - Did you see the film on television last night? - Mr Greaves retired from his job two years ago. 5 * Use a past tense to ask when something happened: - What time did they arrive? (not 'have they arrived') - When were you born? (not 'have you been born') 6 * Now compare these sentences: Present perfect Past simple I've smoked 20 cigarettes today. I smoked 20 cigarettes yesterday. Yesterday is a finished time in the past. So we Today is a period of time which continues up to use the past simple. the present. It is not a finished time. So we use the present perfect. Tom hasn't been ill this year. Tom wasn't ill last year. Have you seen Ann this morning? Did you see Ann this morning? (It is still morning) (It is now afternoon) Have you seen Ann recently? We waited (or were waiting) for an hour. (We We've been waiting for an hour. (We're still are no longer waiting). waiting) Ian has lived in London for six years. (He still Ian lived in Scotland for ten years. (He no lives there) longer lives there.) I have never played golf (in my life) I didn't play golf when I was on holiday last summer.

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