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The Present Perfect Tense + since/for

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. Examples of the present perfect tense

Today I have eaten breakfast and gone to school.Where has he been today?
I have been to Cairo three times in my life.This week I have visited my grandfather and been to Beijing.

4. Present perfect + since/for

Usually the present perfect means the action is finished.

However, if you use ‘since’ or ‘for’, the action is still happening.

Action finishedAction still happening
I have lived in Shanghai.I have lived in Shanghai for 5 years.
I have been to Beijing.I have been in Beijing since Tuesday.
I have studied English.I have studied English for 27 years.

5. Exercises

1. Which ones have finished, and which ones are still happening?

(i) I have been President.
I have been President for 25 years.
(ii) I have taken the bus to work.
I have taken the bus to work since 1942.
(iii) I have been married.
I have been married for too long.

2. Using ‘for’ or ‘since’, say how long you have been doing something (example: I have studied English for 2 years).

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