The Present Perfect

July 4, 2016

How and when to use the Present Perfect
Want Free English Lessons
The Present Perfect

So today I thought I would continue with some grammar. A few weeks ago I explained how to use the

- past simple

- present simple

present continuous.

So moving on from there, this article is about the present perfect.

The present perfect is used to talk about an event in the past but we do not mentioned when event happened.

For example, I have bought a new car.

In the example above, the action / event happened in the past and the action / event is finished. But as you can, we do not know when the action / event happened. What we do know is that there is a result in the present. The result is that now we have a new car.

The present perfect is usually used to talk about past actions / events which have a result in the present. Here are more examples:

I have been shopping. (Result now is that I have food at home)

My sister has graduated from university. (Result in the present is that she is now qualified)

My boss has told me to work harder. (Result in the present is I have to work harder)

One important thing to remember is that we cannot use the present perfect if we mention when the action / event happened.

For example:

I have bought a new car last week. (Wrong)

I bought a new a car last week. (Correct)

I have worked in Spain in 2014. (Wrong)

I worked in Spain in 2014. (Correct)

When we say when the action / event happened, we need to use the past simple.

How to make the present perfect

This tense is formed with have/has + the past participle.

The construction of this verb tense is straightforward. The first element is have or has, depending on the subject the verb is conjugated with. The second element is the past participle of the verb, which is usually formed by adding -ed or -d to the verb’s root (e.g., walked, cleaned, typed, perambulated, jumped, laughed, sautéed) although English does have quite a few verbs that have irregular past participles (e.g., done, said, gone, known, won, thought, felt, eaten).

Sentence Structure

Positive Sentence

I have had dinner.

Negative sentence

I have not had dinner.

I haven’t had dinner. (have + not = haven’t)


Have you had dinner?

If you have any questions about the present perfect, feel free to ask me questions below.