The Present Perfect Tense
S + Has or Have + the Past Participle
I have lived
We have lived
You have lived
You have lived
He has lived
She has lived
They have lived
It has lived
(See the video at the bottom of the page.)
The present perfect is used for three reasons:
Contractions are usually used with this tense:
I’ve lived, you’ve lived, he’s lived, she’s lived, etc.
1. I have lived in Minnesota for 23 years.
I’ve lived here since 1991.
2. You have heard this song before.
You’ve listened to a lot of music, haven’t you?
3. She has cleaned her bathroom twice this week.
She’s also cleaned her kitchen.
(She’s = she has)
Don’t confuse the present perfect with the past tense. The present perfect is used with unspecified periods of time in the past or to show the passage of time. Here’s an example of a mistake:
She has cleaned her bathroom yesterday. (incorrect)
This mistake specifies when she did something which you can only do with a past tense. Here’s the correction:
She cleaned her bathroom yesterday. (correct)
Sometimes people learning English use the past tense when they should use the present perfect. Here’s an example of three common mistakes.
I lived in Minnesota for 10 years.
This is okay for past situations, but if a person still lives in that particular place, the present perfect tense should be used.
Here’s another mistake:
I am living in Minnesota 10 years. (wrong)
I live in Minnesota 10 years. (wrong)
This person wants to say that he moved to Minnesota 10 years ago and is still there. In this case the present perfect is a good choice:
I have lived in Minnesota for 10 years. (correct!)
I have lived in Minnesota since 1996.
Notice also that for and since are often used in the present perfect. For is used with numbers of days, weeks, months, years, centuries, etc., and since is used with specified days, months and years.
Directions: Complete each sentence with the correct form of the verb in the present perfect.
Exercise A – Affirmative Statements: S + has or have + past participle
1. I ______ __________ in this country all my life. (live)
2. She _______ _________ her homework. (do)
3. All of my friends ______ __________ away on vacation this week. (be)
4. It _____ ___________ the entire week. (rain)
5. We _________ _____________ a lot of grammar in this class. (study)
6. John ________ ____________ in the hospital for five days. (be)
7. I _______ _____________ as a teacher since 1989. (work)
8. Jennifer knows everyone in her town because she _______ _________ there since she was a baby. (live)
9. Mark and Louise _______ _________ about getting married. (talk)
10. A friend of mine _______ ___________ $20,000 in the bank to buy a house. (save)
Exercise B – Negative Statements: S + has or have + not + past participle
1. Martha ___________ _____________ her homework yet. (do)
2. We ___________ ______________ a movie in a very long time. (see)
3. The children ___________ _____________ breakfast and they’re very hungry. (have)
4. You _________ ______________ any breakfast yet either. (have)
5. It __________ _____________ in almost four weeks and the ground is too dry. (rain)