Published 29th August 2018

present perfect

The present perfect simple is formed using have or has and then the past participle of the verb. For example, I have visited London twice. Or, she has walked to work every day. This blog provides tips on teaching the present perfect.

  • I/you/we/you/they have visited London twice
  • He/she/ has visited London twice

The present perfect is often used with the additions of the word since or for. Since is used with a fixed time like 2018. For is used for a period of time like 5 days or 3 hours:

  • I have worked for the company since 2014
  • I have lived here for six years

Another word that is used with the present perfect simple is -just. This indicates an action that finished in the recent past:

  • I have just finished my lunch
  • He has just left for work

Your students will need to know when to use the past simple and the present perfect. Teaching them that the past simple is used when we want to explain when something happened. For example, I went to Madrid last year.

The present perfect is used when we don’t know when the action happened, or it doesn’t matter. For example, I have been to Madrid.

Questions are formed by putting the word have or has at the beginning of the sentence and is sometimes used with the word -yet:

  • Have you eaten yet?
  • Have you read any Shakespeare?

Negatives are made by using not. This is usually in the short form using haven’t or hasn’t:

  • I haven’t seen that film
  • She hasn’t been married long

The difference between the present perfect simple and the past simple can be seen in the following sentences. Notice how the past simple is definite with the timescale:

Present Perfect                                                                   Past Simple

I have eaten at that restaurant before                            I ate at that restaurant yesterday

I have met that man before                                               I met that man last week

I have had some meetings with him                                 I had some meetings with him last week