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Advanced Level: Present Perfect Tense

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The Present Perfect is made with – has/have + past participle

I have read that book.
Have you read that book?
I have not read that book.


Unspecified time before the present time.

We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The Present Perfect cannot be used with time expressions that indicate a specific time; yesterday, a year ago, when I was younger etc. We can use the Present Perfect with; ever, never, already, yet etc.

I have travelled to England many times.
Have you read the book yet?
We have met before.


Here are some topics that use the Present Perfect:


Use the Present Perfect to talk about experience: (remember the Present Perfect cannot be used with a specific event)

I have been to Germany. (in my life)
I have never been to France.
I have never been skiing.
I have studied English for several years now.

Change over time

The Present Perfect can express change over time:

You've changed since I saw you last.
He has become more concerned about his social status.
Travel has turned into a huge industry in the last few decades.


Science has advanced in leaps and bounds.
Man has accomplished great things.
He has done well in finance.

Uncompleted actions

I have not yet finished the report.
The rain hasn't stopped.
They haven't yet arrived.

Several actions

The Present Perfect can refer to several actions which have occurred at different times in the past but it suggests that the process is incomplete.

We have had three power cuts this week.
The team has experienced several setbacks so far.
John has sat for three tests this month.

Time expressions

Sometimes we want to limit the time we are looking at when we talk about experiences. This is done by using certain time expressions:

Have you been abroad this year?
I have read three books by the same author in the last month.
Peter has worked for three different companies since he graduated two years ago

From the past until now

We show that something has started in the past and has continued up until now with non-continuous verbs by using the Present Perfect. Phrases which show duration can be used; for three weeks, since Monday, for fifteen minutes etc.

I have had a cold for two weeks.
He has been here for six months.
I have waited for too long.

Position of adverbs

The position of adverbs such as; always, never, only, still, just etc. are placed after the auxiliary verb and before the past participle:

I've just seen Sarah.
I have only spoken to her over the phone.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Now complete the following with the correct form:

  • 1. Did you like the new 'Bond' movie? I _ it yet.

  • 2. Fred is a very close friend of mine. We _ each other for years.

  • 3. Do you know what time Sarah _ the office?

  • 4. You _ late for work too many times this year. If you’re not careful you’ll be fired.

  • 5. I _ quite a few financial problems last year but this year things are getting better.

  • 6. We had an exchange student from Russia who _ the sea so we’re taking him to a beach this weekend.

  • 7. Since I started working here I _ more experienced at dealing with people.

  • 8. I can't remember the last time I _ to the theatre.