1. Review: the present perfect tense
The present perfect tense is used when the action is finished but the time is not finished.
The present perfect tense is made by:
- subject + have + past participle (+ unfinished time)
*Present perfect = gone, eaten, seen, been, etc.
|Unfinished time||Example sentence|
|watch||has watched||this week||Andy has watched the film twice this week.|
|miss||have missed||this month||I have missed school three times this month.|
|go||has gone||Susie’s life||Susie has gone to Cairo twice.|
|decide||have decided||our work life||We have decided to leave the company.|
|perform||have performed||time the girls have been in class||The girls have performed really well in their new class.|
2. The present perfect + already
‘Already’ goes between ‘have’ and the past participle.
Adding ‘already’ to a present perfect sentence gives extra meaning:
- for something finished earlier than expected
- for something finished now, which could have been finished later
- for something finished and that can’t be changed
|Subject||Present perfect + already|
|I||have already finished||It’s only 4pm, but I’ve already finished my dinner.||finished earlier than expected|
|You||have already got||You’re only 18, and you have already got married. Unbelievable.||finished earlier than expected|
|She||has already dumped||I can’t believe she’s already dumped him: they had only been going out for 2 weeks.||finished earlier than expected|
|Ellen’s party guests||had already gone||Oh dear. Ellen has just arrived, but her party guests have already gone home.||finished earlier than expected|
|I||have already done||I‘ve already done my homework, so I’m going to watch TV.||finished now, but could have finished later|
|He||has already painted||He has already painted the wall, so is now working on the roof.||finished now, but could have finished later|
|Tracy||has already spoken||Tracy has already spoken to the boss, so you don’t need to worry.||finished now, but could have finished later|
|Mark||has already completed||The manager asked for the report by Friday, but since Mark has already completed it they will start the project early.||finished now, but could have finished later|
|I||have already worn||I can’t take it back to the shop now: I’ve already worn it.||finished and can’t be changed|
|He||has already married||I wanted to tell him that she is a horrible person, but he has already married her.||finished and can’t be changed|
|I||have already seen||I would go to the cinema with you, but I have already seen that movie.||finished and can’t be changed|
|He||has already read||The teacher gave him a book to read, but he has already read it.||finished and can’t be changed|
3. The present perfect + just
‘Just’ goes between ‘have’ and the past participle.
Add ‘just’ to the present perfect for things that have finished or happened very recently.
|I have only just got here. Did I miss anything?||They have just bought a house. We should go and visit.|
|She has just got divorced, so be nice to her.||Peter is tired because he has just run a marathon.|
4. The present perfect + yet
For ‘yet’, the present perfect uses ‘have not + p.p.’.
‘Yet’ can go either after the p.p., or between ‘have’ and the p.p..
Usually it goes after the p.p.
Use ‘present perfect + yet’ for something not done, but will be done (or is planned to be finished)
|I haven’t done my homework yet; I’ll do it after dinner.||We haven’t met them yet, but I have heard they are very nice.|
|Don’t worry, the game hasn’t started yet.||Bill hasn’t bought the house yet, so maybe he will change his mind.|
5. The present perfect + still
For ‘still’, the present perfect uses ‘have not’.
‘Still’ goes before ‘have’.
Use the present perfect + still for negative situations that have not been stopped, but will be.
*This is a similar idea as ‘yet’ – they should be stopped, but haven’t so far
|I still haven’t called him, but I will do it after dinner.||She still hasn’t seen that movie. We should ask her to come with us.|
|They still haven’t got married? Wow, they have already been dating for 10 years.||Lisa and Chloe still haven’t heard from the bank, so don’t know whether they have the money.|
6. Making questions
Present perfect questions use the following structure:
Have + subject + past participle
Question words (what, why, who, when, etc.) can be added to the front.
Words such as already, just, yet and still can also be added.
|Question word||Have||Subject||Past participle||Example question||+ already / just / yet / still|
|have||you||seen||Have you seen Li?||Have you seen Li yet?|
|Why||have||we||bought||Why have we bought that?||Why have we just bought that?|
|Who||has||she||talked||Who has she talked to?||Who has she already talked to?|
|What||has||he||not done||What has he not done?||What has he still not done?|
7. Test yourself
Click here to test your knowledge of this grammar point.