Present Perfect Tense With Definite Time Adverbs


In traditional grammar books you may have read that the present perfect tense is not used with adverbs referring to definite periods of time. This is quite confusing. Although the present perfect tense is not usually used with adverbs referring to finished periods of time, it is quite common with definite time adverbs.

Note that although the present perfect tense is not usually used with finished time periods, it can be used to refer to finished actions.

We usually use the present perfect tense to talk about recent events and simple past tense to talk about old events.

Note that there are exceptions to this rule. The present perfect tense is sometimes used to talk about very old events that may have some significance in the present. In the same way, simple past tense can be used to talk about very recent events.

Compare:

This is the first time etc

In sentences constructed this / it / that is the first / second / third / only / best / worst etc., we usually use a present perfect tense.

Note that when we talk about past events, we use past perfect tenses in this structure.