Using the present perfect tense

The present perfect tense is used

1) to talk about actions or situations completed in the immediate past

  • He has just gone out.
  • I have just received the parcel.
  • The clock has just struck nine.

2) to express past actions whose time is not given and not definite

  • Have you read ‘Alice in Wonderland’?
  • He has been to Australia many times.
  • Have you ever seen a ghost?
  • I have watched that movie.

In the sentences given above, we are talking about past actions but we don’t mention their time.

3) to talk about past events whose effect is still felt in the present

  • I have broken my leg. (So I can’t walk now.)
  • The cat has drunk all the milk. (So there is nothing left for the baby.)
  • I have finished my work. (So I am free now.)

4) to talk about an action that started in the past and has continued up to the moment of speaking

  • I have lived in this city for fifteen years. (= I am still living in this city.)
  • We have known each other since our school days.
  • He has been absent for two days.
  • I haven’t seen her for several months.

Adverbs used with the present perfect tense

The present perfect tense is commonly used with the following adverbs: just, often, never, ever, so far, till now, yet, already, since, for

  • He has just gone out.
  • I have never been to a concert.
  • I have written six letters so far.
  • We haven’t received any information till now.
  • They haven’t started work yet.
  • He has already left.

The present perfect tense cannot be used with adverbs of past time. That means it cannot be used with expressions like yesterday, last year, last week or last month.

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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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