Contents:

Form

Affirmative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “has/have” + past participle form of verb

Contracted form:

subject + “-‘s/-‘ve” + past participle form of verb

  • “She’s walked down this path before.”
  • “I’ve had enough to eat, thanks.”
Negative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “has/have not” + past participle form of verb

Contracted form:

subject + “hasn’t/haven’t” + past participle form of verb

  • “He hasn’t arrived yet.”
  • “We haven’t completed the renovations.”
Questions 

Full forms:

(a) “has/have” + subject + past participle form of verb

(b) question word + “has/have” + subject + past participle form of verb

  • Has he started work?”
  • When has he visited Australia?”
Negative questions

It is possible to make negative questions even though their uses are quite specific. [See also: Negative questions]

The structure for full forms and contracted forms are slightly different. Contracted forms are preferred in general.

Contracted forms:

(a) “hasn’t/haven’t” + subject + past participle form of verb

(b) question word + “hasn’t/haven’t” + subject + past participle form of verb

Full forms:

(a) “has/have” + subject + “not” + past participle form of verb

(b) question word + “has/have” + subject + “not” + past participle form of verb

  • Hasn’t he started work?”
  • Why have they not helped you with the move?”

Timeline

For this tense, it is useful to ask, “Until this point, what happened?”

Here, the timeline starts some time in the past until now.

Finished events

Within this timeline, an event might have happened.

Or three.

Ongoing events

Even though we’re focused on what happened until the present time, there is always a possibility that an event might be ongoing.

Unfinished time periods

With present time markers like “today,” “this week,” or “this year,” a time period can be unfinished at the time of speaking. So some things may have happened up until the time of speaking but the full time period is not over yet.


Uses of the Present perfect tense

These can be divided into events that are completed or ongoing.

Completed events

1.   To refer to previous experiences without a specific time.
  • Have we met? You look familiar.”
    Not – “Have we met yesterday?”
  • “We‘ve tried the steak here. It’s really good.”
    Not – “We’ve tried the steak here last weekend.”
  • a. With general (indefinite) time expressions.

    For example: “never,” “ever,” “before,” “so far,” “until now,” etc.

    • Have you ever eaten kangaroo meat before?”
    • “She‘s never seen Star Wars until now. Can you believe it?”
    b. With ordinals – To express how many times we have had this experience.
    • “This is the first time I‘ve driven a car.”
    • “It’s the third time he‘s visited Tasmania.”

    This can also be used with “since” to refer to the start of a time period.

    • “We‘ve tried the steak here since they hired a new chef last month. It’s really good.”
    • “He‘s been on a date once since his breakup two years ago.”
    c. With superlative adjectives – To describe unique experiences.
    • “He said it was the most profound experience he‘s ever had.”
    • “It was the worst movie I‘ve ever seen.”
    2.   To talk about recently completed events.
    • “Wally has returned from a business trip.”
    a. With “just” or “recently” – To express how recent this happened and distinguish this from the previous use about past experiences.
    • “They‘ve just arrived from the airport.”
    • “Our company has recently opened another office in Tasmania.”
    b. With “already” – To emphasise that something is done.
    • “I‘ve already taken a bath.”
    • “The children have already had their dinner.”
    3.   To talk about past events with present results.

    This is very similar to the previous use but this refers to recent events that has an impact on the present.

    • “He‘s broken his leg so he can’t play with us this weekend.”
    • “There‘s been an accident on the highway.”

    Ongoing events

    4.   To refer to events that are not yet complete or continue past the time of speaking.
    • “I haven’t seen him.”
    a. With “for” or “since.”

    Here, a specific time has to be given.

  • “They‘ve been married for 25 years.”
    Not – “They’ve been married.”
    • “I haven’t seen her since Eve’s birthday party.”
    b. With present time expressions.

    For example: “today,” “this morning,” “this year,” etc.

    • “I‘ve drank 3 cups of tea today.”
    • “He’s studied really hard this semester.
    c. With “yet” – To refer to events that are incomplete or not done.

    This would also imply intent to do or finish something.

    • “I haven’t finished my meal yet.”
    • Have you done your laundry yet?”
    d. With “still” – When something continues to be incomplete or not done yet.

    This is usually used in the negative.

    • “I still haven’t finished my meal.”
    • “He still hasn’t recovered from his cold.”

    Original post: 14 October 2020

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