Rules And Usage Of The Present Perfect Tense With Examples

The present perfect tense in English is an advanced tense. It is used to describe an action or a state that began in the past and has continued up to the present day.

With the present perfect tense, you will be able to communicate much more effectively in a wide range of situations. Using this tense will not only enable you to speak better, but also write more effectively, whether in social, academic, or business contexts. 

Here we are going to look at how and when the present perfect tense is used.

So, are you ready?

Let’s take a closer look at this amazing tense so you can become more comfortable using it.

What is the present perfect tense?

There are 12 tenses that we have to deal with when studying English grammar, and this is one of the most important.

The present perfect tense shows or tells that an action that was done in the past has a result in the present or has an effect on the present. 

In other words, something that occurred in the past has an effect on something in the present. Therefore, there is a connection between the two different time periods.  

Just imagine how a bridge connects one side to the other. This tense also works as a bridge and connects one time period to the other. This means that it is not limited to the present or the past. The past and present are linked and connected by it.

For Example;

Mona has forgotten where she lives in the city.

This present perfect sentence shows that Mona forgot where she lives at some point in the past and she still does not remember where she lives.

The action happened in the past and it is still valid (true) in the present. That means the action that happened in the past has an effect on the present.

Present Perfect Tense Structure | Present Perfect Tense Rule

Let’s look at the present perfect tense structure that we use to make sentences.  

1. Present Perfect Affirmative Sentence Structure

Subject + have/has + Verb (past participle) + Object


I, You, We, They
Have
He, She, It, NameHas

Unlike past simple, the main verb is in past participle form in the present perfect tense. Normally, this isn’t an issue for regular verbs. Because the past participle form of regular verbs is the same as the past simple form. So, we just need to add –ed.

For example:

Work – worked – worked

Play – played – played

Cook – cooked – cooked

The irregular verbs, on the other hand, are the ones that can give you a hard time. This is because you need to remember three different forms of these verbs.

For example:

Begin – began – begun

Come – Came – come

Do – did – done

There are no patterns to follow with these verbs. You just need to memorize their past participle forms. 

In order to use the present perfect tense effectively, you may need to brush up on some useful irregular English verbs and remember their past participle forms.

Present perfect tense structure and examples
Present Perfect Tense Structure With Examples!

Affirmative Present Perfect Tense With Examples

Let’s see some Affirmative present perfect tense examples. These present perfect tense examples will give you an idea of how to form sentences in this tense.

I have worked in a few companies.

She has changed a lot.

I have sent him an email about this matter.

The petrol prices have risen again.

You have become a father now.

The boss has called an urgent meeting.

I have found your wallet under the table.

Tom has got a fever.

We have got permission to access these files.

They have gone forever.

Contraction or Sort Form in Present Perfect Affirmative Sentences

I’ve worked in a few companies. (I have – I’ve)

She’s changed a lot. (She has – she’s)

I have – I’ve

You have – you’ve

He has – he’s

She has – she’s

We have – we’ve

They have – they’ve

It has – it’s

2. Present Perfect Negative Sentence Structure

Subject + have/has + not + Verb (past participle) + Object

Examples of Present Perfect Tense Negative Sentences

I have not worked in a few companies.

She has not changed a lot.

I have not sent him an email about this matter.

The petrol prices have not risen.

You have not become a father.

The boss has not called an urgent meeting.

I have not found your wallet under the table.

Tom has not got a fever.

We have not got permission to access these files.

They have not gone forever.

Contraction or Sort Form in Present Perfect Negative Sentences

Have not – Haven’t

Has not – Hasn’t

I haven’t worked in a few companies.

She hasn’t changed a lot.

3. Present Perfect Question Sentence Structure

Have/has + Subject + Verb (past participle) + Object?

Examples of present perfect tense question sentences

Have I worked in a few companies?

Has she changed a lot?

Have I sent him an email about this matter?

Have the petrol prices risen?

Have you become a father now?

Has the boss called an urgent meeting?

Have I found your wallet under the table?

Has Tom got a fever?

Have we got permission to access these files?

Have they gone forever?

Present Perfect Tense Usage

When is the present perfect tense used?

We use the present perfect tense in different situations. Let’s look at what they are.

1. The connection between the past and the present –

When there is a connection between the present and the past the present perfect tense is used. That means if something started in the past and continues in the present we use this tense.

Examples of the present perfect tense

We have been married for ten years.

I have become a mother of a beautiful girl.

She has been in this city for two years.

They have lived here since March 2017.

2. Repetitive action in the past-

The present perfect tense is used to talk about any activity that was done several times in the past and that still continues in the present.

I have watched many movies.

I have watched movies in the past and I still watch. It is a repetitive action and it continues in the present as well.

Examples of the present perfect tense

We have eaten in this restaurant for three years.

He has dated many girls.

Jenifer has never lied.

I have played tennis since childhood.

3. To talk about life experience or accomplishment –

Another use of the present perfect tense is to talk about life experiences and accomplishments.

I have graduated from XYZ university.

She has never been to Canada.

I have eaten sushi before coming to Japan.

He has never served in the army.

4. Finished Actions or events –

The present perfect tense is used to talk about a finished action (action completed recently).  

Present perfect tense examples for finished actions

I have finished my homework.

I have cooked dinner.

I have eaten lunch.

I have just sent the email.

He has cleaned the bathroom.

You have eaten enough.

It has rained today.

5. Unfinished Actions or events –

When something started in the past and is still continuing. Something that happened in the past but it is not finished yet.

Present perfect tense examples for unfinished actions

I have worked here for seven years. 

(I started to work here seven years ago, and I still work here.)

I have lived here since June 1999.

(I started to live here in June 1999, and I still live here.)

6. The other use of the present perfect tense –

Look at some of the common words and expressions we use with this tense to see when to use the present perfect tense.

Already, just, for, since, yet, ever, never, how long

I have already read the book.

Our team has just won the game.

She has worked here for 3 months.

She has worked here since January.

The flight has not arrived yet.

Have you ever been to Italy?

He has never eaten sushi.

How long have you known each other?

Present Perfect Tense FAQs

What is the present perfect tense?

The present perfect tense is a verb tense that shows a connection or link between the past and the present. It refers to an action that started in the past and has an effect on the present.

What are the 3 uses of present perfect?

The 3 uses of present perfect tense are:

1. Present perfect tense is used to talk about a finished action that was completed recently.
2. When something started in the past and is still continuing (not finished yet).
3. We use the present perfect tense to talk about life experiences and accomplishments.

What are the 10 examples of present perfect tense?

1. Monica has eaten her dinner.
2. We have been to Australia many times.
3. Hurry up! The show has started.
4. She has learned some foreign languages.
5. They have visited us since 2016.
6. They have left for the airport.
7. My mother has shopped here.
8. We have known each other for eleven years.
9. Students have worked hard for this exam.
10. I have done this before.

Why present perfect tense is used?

The present perfect tense is used to describe an action that has just finished or an unfinished action that is still continuing.

How do we form present perfect simple?

We can form present perfect simple using the structure:- Subject + have/has + Verb (past participle) + Object

How do you form a present perfect question?

To form a present perfect question, you can use the structure:- Have/has + Subject +  Verb (past participle) + Object?

Is has singular or plural?

Has is an auxiliary verb (helping verb). It is only used with the third person singular pronouns such as he, she, it, or name. For the first-person singular pronoun “I”, we use “have”.

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