Present Perfect Tense

Complete Grammar Guide: Definition, Examples, Forms and Uses.

Present perfect tense describes an action done in the past which has its results at present.

This article provides a complete guide on simple present tense under the following topics.

Definition of present perfect tense

Examples of present perfect tense

Uses of present perfect tense

How to form/structure present perfect tense

Useful contractions

Useful vocabulary

Present perfect tense exercise.

Definition of Present Perfect Tense

This tense is called present perfect as it uses present forms of auxiliary verbs has and have, along with the past participle form of the verb.

The present perfect tense is formed with auxiliary verbs has or have, followed by the past participle of the main verb.

Present Perfect Tense Examples

  1. Jenny has taken the dog for a walk.
  2. The meeting has begun at eight.
  3. The wind has blown all my written papers.
  4. He has bought all the necessary stuff.
  5. They have chosen ten students for the final contest.
  6. She has driven the car too fast.
  7. I have grown pink roses in the front yard.
  8. Their kids have grown into great human beings.
  9. Jeff has left his wallet in our apartment.
  10. They have seen you wandering in the town.
  11. By now, the company has sold 40 percent of its shares.
  12. Somebody has stolen my credit card.
  13. She has written a beautiful song this time.
  14. Only some of the students have paid their school fees.
  15. I have strictly forbidden my kids to go out. 

Uses of Present Perfect Tense

1. Present perfect tense is mainly used to speak about past events or actions that have results in the present. Most of the activities have been done in the recent past.

Examples

I have finished all my homework. We can go to the cinema now.

Frank has brought a lot of chocolates.

They have left all their books for me to read.

The bride has just arrived at the church.

The teacher has just started the lesson.

2. Describes actions that started in the past and still happening in the present.

Examples:

The Dunkin family has lived in this mansion since the late nineties. (This means they are still living in that mansion)

I have given them piano lessons for two months. (The speaker is still giving them piano lessons)

I have waited for the order for three days. (The speaker is still waiting to receive the order)

3. Describes repeated actions performed during an uncertain period between the past and the present.

Examples

I have donated my blood a few times.

I have read that book several times.

Have you seen the weekend newspaper?

I have watched ‘Sound of Music’ many times.

I have been to Austria a few times.

4. Describes experiences (actions performed by the doer at least once in the past). No matter when this usage emphasizes that the doer has experience with the specific activity. Mentioning the time the action has been performed is insignificant in such cases.

Examples

I have been to Madrid.

He has played cricket at school. 

She has had cats as pets.

5. Describes actions that happened during an unfinished period.

Examples

I have eaten six pizzas this month. (‘This’ means that the month is still not over.)

She has spent more than 500$ on skin care products this year. 

Today so far, I have sold eighteen charity tickets.

How to Form the Present Perfect Tense?

The basic formula of the present perfect tense is:

Subject + has/have + past participle + rest of the sentence

Examples:

The cat has drunk all the milk.

The baby has broken his toy.

The birds have built a nest on the roof.

This is called the affirmative or the positive of the present perfect tense.

We can also use present perfect tense in 5 forms as follows.

1. Affirmative form or positive form

2. Negative form

3. Interrogative form

4.Negative interrogative form

5. Passive form

1. Affirmative form

Subject + has/have + past participle + rest of the sentence

Examples

He has gone to the hospital.

Children have sung a nursery rhyme.

The puppy has torn the carpet into pieces.

Note: adverbs are used between the auxiliary verb and the past participle.

Examples

I have never seen such a beautiful girl before.

He is the smartest student I have ever met.

We have always spoken about the benefits of our new project.

She has just started studying the topic.

He has only answered one question in the exam paper.

2. Negative form

Subject + has not /have not + past participle + rest of the sentence

Examples

The taxi has not arrived yet.

I haven’t finished reading the book yet.

She has not been to California.

He has not taught mathematics to class eight students.

They have not updated the official site since last year.

3. Interrogative form

  • Close-ended questions
  • Tag questions
  • Wh questions

Close-ended questions

Close-ended questions are questions that get yes or no answers.

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

have + subject + past participle + rest of the question

Examples

Has the lecture started?

Have I told you about the new student who came to our class?

Has she spoken to you after the school days?

  • Third person singular:

Has + subject + past participle + rest of the question

Examples

Has she finished cleaning the room?

Has it broken?

Has Frank fixed the error?

Tag questions (Negative statement + Positive tag)

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

[subject + have not + rest of the sentence] + [have + subject]?

Examples

You have not studied for the exam. Have you?

They have not complained the customer care yet. Have they?

I have not asked you to work hard. Have I?

  • Third person singular:

[subject + has not + rest of the sentence] + [has + subject]?

Examples

She has not actually cheated you. Has she?

It has not started yet. Has it?

He has not washed the car. Has he?

Wh – questions

Who has broken the wine glass?

Why have they called off the ceremony?

What have you made for dinner?

To whom has he handed over the documents?

How has the rat entered the house?

4.Negative interrogative form

Close-end questions

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

Have + subject + not + past participle + rest of the question

Examples

Have they not answered the phone?

Have I not switched off the lights?

Haven’t you heard about that news?

  • Third person singular:

Has + subject + not + past participle + rest of the question

Examples

Has she not posted the letter yet?

Has he not brought the necessary documents?

Has she not spoken a word to you after that day?

Tag questions (Positive statement + Negative tag)

  • First-person/second-person singular/second-person plural/third-person plural:

[subject + have + rest of the sentence] + [haven’t + subject]?

Examples

You have worked on your plans. Haven’t you?

I have done all the things you said. Haven’t I?

We have discussed this matter many times. Haven’t we?

  • Third person singular:

[subject + has + rest of the sentence] + [hasn’t + subject]?

Examples

Alex has forgotten to lock the door. Hasn’t he?

Your sister has misunderstood what I have said. Hasn’t she?

She has gone wrong with her decision? Hasn’t she?

5. Passive form

Subject + has/have + been + past participle + rest of the sentence

 Examples:

The costumes have been designed to the latest fashion.

I have been cheated by my girlfriend from the very beginning of our relationship.

Present perfect active voice: The doctor has diagnosed the disease.

Present perfect passive voice: The disease has been diagnosed by the doctor.

Useful Contractions (short forms of auxiliary verbs): 

has not = hasn’t

have not = haven’t

he/she/it has = he’s/she’s/it’s

I/you/we/they have = I’ve/you’ve/we’ve/they’ve

Useful Vocabulary

Auxiliary verbs: has, have

Time expressions: since, for, yet, already, never, ever, so far, many times, a few times, a several times, before, earlier

Adverbs: never, ever, always, just, only, still