present perfect 

advanced grammar

What is the present perfect form in English? Do you know how to use it? If you are unsure, this blog post is for you! Let us know if this was helpful. Remember to sign up for your free first lesson to discuss any questions you might have with your favorite Fluentella teacher! 

What is the present perfect tense?


It shows experience (started in the past and continued until now)


It shows the passing of time (specified/unspecified)


Some adverbs that are commonly used with it: ever/never/already

Pay attention to the form:

S + has/have (not) + past participle / V3 + O

I have been to that zoo.

*Remember: the past participle CAN’T be the only verb in the sentence, it needs an auxiliary verb (have/has)


What is a past participle / V3?

   Simple form – Simple past – Past Participle

                V1                 V2                 V3

               Fly               Flew             Flown

              Look           Looked         Looked


Contractions used with the present perfect:

Remember that contractions are generally used in spoken English and it’s important to pronounce them correctly:

I have = I’ve  /ʌɪv/

You have =  You’ve  /juːv,jʊv/

They have = They’ve  /ðeɪv/

We have = We’ve  /wiːv,wɪv/

He has = He’s  /hɪz/

She has = She’s /ʃɪz/

Have not = Haven’t   /ˈhav(ə)nt/

Has not = Hasn’t  /ˈhaz(ə)nt/



Present Perfect Use #1


To talk about an unspecified time in the past: “I have traveled to China.”

The action started and finished in the past, when it happened is not important, but the experience is.

Can also be used for repeated events from the past: “I have traveled to China many times.”


Present Perfect Use #2


 To talk about specific times in the past using for/since:I have lived here for three years.” or “I have lived here since 2015.”

The action started in the past, but is still happening now.

What is the difference between ‘for’ and ‘since’?

For = the duration of time (total)

I have lived here for three years.

Since = a specific point in the past the action started

I have lived here since 2015.

Present perfect question / short answer forms:

The form: Have / Has + S + PP + O?

Question: Have you seen the cat?

Answer: Yes, I have. / No, I haven’t.


Present perfect questions can also be formed using ‘WH’ words, like:

WHat have you done?

WHen has she been here?

WHere has he gone?

WHich one have you chosen?

WHo has given you the flowers?


Present perfect and frequently used adverbs:


Have you ever been to Canada?

Used for questions to ask about something you experienced in your lifetime.


I’ve never seen that movie.

Used in negative statements to talk about something you have not experienced in your lifetime.


Have you tried sushi yet?

I haven’t tried sushi yet.

Used in negative statements and questions about things that are not finished but you believe you will experience or do in your lifetime.


Have you bought a plane ticket already?

I’ve (already) bought a plane ticket (already).

Used in questions and positive statements meaning something is finished and there is no need to do it again.

Try it out!

Use the pictures shown to you to make real statements about the things you have experienced in your lifetime. Remember to use the correct form, past participles and adverbs:


  1. Cecile Pienaar

    Thank you. I am an English teacher and this has been very helpful

    • Marie Teacher

      Thanks, Cecile!

  2. JL Venter

    I haven’t been to Rome before.


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