present perfect

The Present Perfect Tense

What’s it for?

There are about five main reasons for using the present perfect tense in English.

livia-bitton-jackson1. To talk about something that started in the past and is still going on: “I have lived a thousand years.”

2. When the time period has not finished: “More than 3,000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year.”

3. To talk about actions repeated a number of times in the past and now: “I have died multiple times and the doctors have brought me back.”QA-Nile-Rodgers-008

4. To talk about things completed recently: “I have just knocked over a cat and killed it. What should I do?”

5. When the actual time of the action is not known or not important: “I have been to the mountain top.”

 How’s it constructed?

Use ‘have’ (or ‘has’) and the past participle of the main verb.

In a question, invert the auxiliary verb (‘have’ or ‘has’) with the subject pronoun, as usual with questions in English: “What have you knocked over?” “A cat!”

In the negative, put ‘not’ (or  ‘n’t’) after the ‘have’ or ‘has’: “I haven’t died yet.”


Is it ‘have’ or ‘has’?

How do you say (or spell) the past participle?

never and ever / since and for / just, already and yet

Why’s it difficult?

Hmm … some languages use it differently so the meaning can be confusing and there’s a bit to remember in its construction. Look here if you want some more detail.

How about this?

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?