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Introduction

The Present Perfect tense holds significance in English, yet it can pose challenges for speakers of certain languages due to its reliance on concepts that are absent in those languages. While the structure of the Present Perfect is straightforward, difficulties arise in its application. Furthermore, variations in usage between British and American English contribute to the complexity.

How to make the Present Perfect tense?

The structure of the Present Perfect is:

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

The auxiliary verb (have) is conjugated in the Present Simple: have, has
The main verb is invariable in past participle form: -ed (or irregular)
For negative sentences we insert not between the auxiliary verb and the main verb.
For question sentences, we exchange the subject and the auxiliary verb.

Look at these example sentences with the Present Perfect tense:

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

Contraction with Present Perfect

When we use the Present Perfect in speaking, we often contract the subject and auxiliary verb. We also sometimes do this in informal writing.

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

  • You've told me that before.
  • John's seen Harry Potter.

In negative sentences, we may contract the auxiliary verb and "not":

  • You haven't won the contest.
  • She hasn't heard from him.

How to use the Present Perfect tense?

This tense is called the Present Perfect tense. There is always a connection with the past and with the present.

We use the Present Perfect to talk about:

  • experience
  • change
  • continuing situation

Present Perfect for experience

We often use the Present Perfect to talk about experience from the past. We are not interested in when you did something. We only want to know if you did it:

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

  • Connection with past: the event was in the past
  • Connection with present: in my head, now, I have a memory of the event; I know something about the event; I have experience of it 

Present Perfect for change

We also use the Present Perfect to talk about a change, or new information:

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

  • Connection with past: the past is the opposite of the present
  • Connection with present: the present is the opposite of the past

Present Perfect for continuing situation

The Present Perfect is frequently employed to describe an ongoing state, one that initiated in the past and persists into the present, likely extending into the future. This pertains to a condition rather than an action, typically accompanied by the use of "for" or "since" in this construction.

  • I have worked here since June.
  • He has been ill for 2 days.
  • How long have you known Tara (for)?

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

  • Connection with past: the situation started in the past.
  • Connection with present: the situation continues in the present. 

For and Since with Present Perfect tense

We often use for and since with perfect tenses:

  • We use for to talk about a period of time: five minutes, two weeks, six years
  • We use since to talk about a point in past time: 9 o'clock, 1st January, Monday

Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT

Look at these example sentences using for and since with the Present Perfect tense:

  • I have been here for twenty minutes.
  • I have been here since 9 o'clock.
  • John hasn't called for six months.
  • John hasn't called since February.
  • He has worked in New York for a long time.
  • He has worked in New York since he left school.
The document Present Perfect Tense | English for CLAT is a part of the CLAT Course English for CLAT.
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