The present perfect tense is used to discuss past events or actions that affect the present, to discuss new changes or extra information, or for continuing situations. It’s a tense that links the past and present and can be used in many different ways.
Present perfect is often one of the hardest tenses for speakers to grasp because it doesn’t translate well into other languages. Its use also depends on where you come from, as there are a few inconsistencies between British and American English.
But don’t worry; as always, in this article, we will give you plenty of examples, explain how this tense is used and functions, and give you some further resources to help you along the way.
Are you ready?
Forming a Present perfect sentence is pretty straightforward as the structure is simple- you take the present participle tense of the verb, ‘to have,’ and add the past participle of the chosen main verb, such as;
And change it to past participle, which would be,
Note: Some verbs are irregular in certain tenses, such as ‘to be.’ When using a regular verb, we usually add -ed or -d at the end of the main verb to make the past participle. However, there are a few exceptions, so when you learn a new verb, it’s worth researching to see if it’s irregular or not.
Then form the sentence. In the affirmative, it would be:
Note: The present participle of ‘have’ changes depending on the subject regardless of whether you’re forming an affirmative, negative, or interrogative sentence.
You can also use contractions to shorten sentences in informal writing and general speech. For example:
Example sentences using ‘have’ and ‘been’:
We affirmatively use the present perfect for confirming the following:
Like most verb tenses, we can add adverbs of time to modify the sentence. For example:
We use the following structure when forming a sentence using the present perfect and an adverb of time:
Subject + have/has + adverb of time + past participle verb + any extra information.
Example sentences using the affirmative in the present perfect tense:
The present perfect is also used negatively. Instead of just using ‘to have, or has,’ we add -not. For example:
In this case, the structure would be:
Subject + have/has + -not + past participle verb + any extra information.
Or when adding in an adverb of time:
Subject + have/has + -not + adverb of time + past participle verb + any extra information.
Subject + have/has + -not + past participle verb + any extra information + adverb of time.
Example sentences using the negative in the present perfect tense:
Interrogative sentences are questions where we gain extra information from asking them. They can be positive or negative.
The structure changes ever so slightly, like with the following:
Have/has + subject + past participle + extra information +?
Or, in the negative interrogative:
Have/has + -not + subject + past participle + extra information +?
Example sentences using the affirmative interrogative in the present perfect tense:
Example sentences using the negative interrogative in the present perfect tense:
The present perfect tense can be used in the active or passive voice, depending on what you want to say.