How to use the present perfect tenses
When do you use the
The tense you choose depends on how you consider the event. Is it
finished, or is there still a connection to the present?
If you use the ("I
did"), you consider the event or events as finished and in the past.
This tense is often used with a time reference: last year, last week, in
1991, this morning (if it's now the afternoon) and so on.
With the ("I have
done"), there is a connection to the present.
For example, " here
for five years." (I still live here.)
("I did") and the ("I have done")?
Uses of the Present
When the past affects the present
"I lost my wallet."
This means that you have lost your wallet (sometime in the past, but we
don't know when), but what is really important is that you don't have it
, at the time of speaking.
If instead, you say "I my
wallet", people understand that you lost it, but not that it affects the
present. They expect you to tell them about the time that you lost the
We use the Present Perfect tense to show that something has a result or
a connection to now. This means that it's used to give news.
"The Euro !"
"The Euro against the
"My sister a baby."
Your experiences make you the person you are now. We don't use dates and
times to give information on what makes you this person.
"I to New Zealand." (I
know something about New Zealand.)
We often ask questions about people's experiences with
. For example, " white-water rafting?"
, which have continued up to now and will probably continue
into the future.
Use to give the date that
an activity or state started and use
to give the period of time the activity or state has lasted.
report." (Here it is.)
In these type of examples, we often use and .
Note: American English uses the Past Simple instead of the Present
Perfect in these examples. For instance, " "
Using both tenses in
"Yes, I to the USA."
"Oh really? When ?"
The first question and the reply concern a person's experience, so they
use the Present Perfect. But the second question asks for more
information about the experience. Because it refers to a past time (
the person went to the USA), the Past Simple is used.
The conversation could continue:
"Oh really? When ?"
"Two years ago. I a
friend in California, but I only stayed a week."
"Yes, it a fantastic trip."
How to use the Present Perfect Continuous.
Like the and
used to talk about activities or states that are temporary, rather than
"I the Marketing
Manager five years." (This is
"I on a new
customer database." (This is a temporary project.)
"I letters all
morning." (I still haven't finished them.)
"This morning I three
letters." (They are all finished.)
Repeated and continuous actions
"No wonder you're not hungry. You sweets for the last hour." (One sweet after another.)
Using "had done" in English