ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Learning English: Present Perfect Simple

Updated on February 17, 2016
The present perfect
The present perfect
This was not my real hairdresser
This was not my real hairdresser

What is it?

The Present Perfect Simple is a commonly used tense in the English language that does not appear in many other languages. It is used to describe a thing which started in the past and have either just finished or are still continuing in the present. This article will look at the present perfect simple (There will be another article for present perfect continuous soon)

It can often be confused with the past or present tenses. I'll give you an example:

I went to the hair dresser's to have my hair cut. The lady who cut my hair was from Bulgaria and we started talking. I asked her for how long she had been living in London. She replied: "I am living in London for 6 years now". She used the present cont. which implies in this case that her fixed arrangement is to live in London for 6 more years. Because of her mistake it became future. She wanted to say "I have been living in London for 6 years" This is present perfect continuous and would have made more sense.

If you're wondering: "Did I correct her?" The answer is: No I did not! I choose not to correct people's mistakes when they have sharp things in their hands and could either destroy my hair or worse kill me haha


Paris at night
Paris at night

Form

The form of present perfect uses the verb 'to have' as an auxiliary.

Subject + have/has + past participle

*Subject (I, you, we, they + have) (He, she, it +has)

*Past Participle is the third column on the charts

Example: I have been to Paris

Negative I have not (haven't) been to Paris

Question: Have you been to Paris (Have/has + subject +past participle)

William Shakespeare is most definitely dead
William Shakespeare is most definitely dead

How is it used?

Well like I said before it connects a moment in the past to the present (like a piece of string) and the line unfinished, or recently finished.

Compare these two sentences:

1) I have never been to Thailand

2) William Shakespeare never went to Thailand

Sentence 1) uses the present perfect and this sentence is talking about my life. My life is not finished I'm happy to say (I'm still alive) and therefore the present perfect is used to link the start of my life (when I was born) to the present. I also have the opportunity to go to Thailand tomorrow if I want. (No, I'm not telling you how old I am)

Sentence 2) uses the past simple here. We used the past simple to say that the time is complete or finished. In this case you are talking about Shakespeare's life. This sentence implies that Steve's life is complete and therefore can no longer go to Thailand. In other words in this sense Steve is probably dead.

It does not have to be as dramatic as life and death. Compare these two sentences:

1) I saw Steve 5 minutes ago

2) I have seen Steve since Monday. (Today is Wednesday)

Sentence 1) uses the past simple. 5 minutes ago is in the past and has finished. 'ago' is a past expression and this sentence shows us that you can no longer see Steve.

Sentence 2) uses the Present Perfect and means the last time you saw Steve was Monday. From that point in the past to the present you have not met or seen Steve and you can't see him now. This connects the point in the past to the present.


Time expressions

These expression CAN NOT be used with the present perfect

  • one month ago
  • two years ago
  • last month
  • yesterday
  • when I was five years old

These CAN be used with the present perfect

  • over the last week
  • Today
  • This week
  • Since I was five years old

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)