The Present Perfect Tense

1. When to use the present perfect tense

The present perfect tense is for something that has happened between a time in the past and now.

The action has finished. The time has not finished.

2. Examples of unfinished times

Because the present perfect tense is between a time in the past and now, it uses phrases of unfinished time.

todayin the last 3 days
this weekduring my work
this yearmy life

*Recently can be finished or unfinished.

3. How to make the present perfect tense

To make the present perfect tense, use:
have + past participle (p.p.)

*P.p. = done, gone, seen, eaten, etc..

I have gone to school.The boys have stolen a car.
She has done her homework.My computer has broken,
They have taken all my money.Silvio has eaten my pudding and so I am going to kill him.

4. Questions using the present perfect tense

To make a question in the present perfect tense, use:
question word + have + subject + p.p. + time phrase

*To make a yes/no question, do not use a question word.
*There is no need for a time phrase if people know what the time is.

Question wordhavesubjectp.p.time phrasefull question
whathaveyoudonetodayWhat have you done today?
whathavetheyeatenthis morningWhat have they eaten this morning?
whyhashedoneWhy has he done that?
haveyoubeenHave you been to Delhi?

It is possible to talk about multiple actions within large periods of time.

What have you done this morning?I have woken up.
I have eaten breakfast.
I have gone to school.
What have you done this week?I have visited my grandfather.
I have gone to the cinema.
I have been to Beijing.
Describe your life.I have been to Las Vegas.
I have graduated from high school.
I have got married and had 23 children.

5. Using ‘haven’t’

The present perfect tense can describe what you have not done.
For this, change ‘have’ to ‘haven’t’.

He hasn’t cleaned the dishes today.I haven’t met you in a long time.
She hasn’t been to Japan.Henrietta hasn’t taken her exam yet.

6. Exercises

1. Answer these questions:
(i) What have you done today?
(ii) what have you done this week?
(iii) what have you done (in your life)?

2. Think of some things you haven’t done today.

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