When is the perfect time to use the perfect tense?
We use the PRESENT PERFECT TENSE for two reasons: to describe an action that is not complete (unfinished action), or to describe an action that is complete (finished action). The PERFECT TENSE uses the verbs “have” and “had”.
When we use the PRESENT PERFECT TENSE for an unfinished action, we are usually talking about time, or “how long” something is:
- “I have been studying English EC Los Angeles for 6 months!” This means, “I am studying English at EC Los Angeles for 6 months, and I will continue to study here longer.”
- “I have been wanting to learn English in USA since I was 12 years old.” This means, “I wanted to learn English in the USA from age 12, and I still want to learn English.”
When we use the PRESENT PERFECT TENSE for a finished action, we are usually talking about a life experience, a time of day or week that is not over yet, or a result for something that just happened. We use a past-tense verb after “have” or “had”
- “I have lived in Japan.” This means, “I used to live in Japan, but I don’t live there now.”
- “I have lost my car keys.” This means, “I cannot find my car keys (so I cannot drive to the store.”
- “I haven’t visited my grandma, this month.” This means, “I didn’t visit my grandmother this month, but the month is not over so, I might still visit her.”
There are also some special words we can use with the PRESENT PERFECT TENSE: “been” and “gone”.
We use “been” when we talk about a life experience.
- “I have been to Morocco!” This means “I went to Morocco before, but I am not there now.”
- “I have never been to Europe.” This means, “I have never visited Europe, but I may visit in the future.”
We use “gone” when we talk about an action with a result that is happening now.
- “George has gone to school.” This means, “George is at school, but he will return later.”
- “Ayako has gone to San Francisco with Expedition America this weekend.” This means, “Ayako went to San Francisco with EC Los Angeles’ partner Expedition America this weekend, but she will come back later.”
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