How do we 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. There are basically three uses for the present perfect tense:
1. Present perfect tense for experience
We often use the present perfect tense 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:
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.
2. Present perfect tense for change
We also use the present perfect tense to talk about a change or new information:
Connection with present: the present is the opposite of the past.
Americans do not use the present perfect tense so much as British speakers. Americans often use the past tense instead. An American might say "Did you have lunch?", where a British person would say "Have you had lunch?"
3. Present perfect tense for continuing situation
We often use the present perfect tense to talk about a continuing situation. This is a state that started in the past and continues in the present (and will probably continue into the future). This is a state (not an action). We usually use for or since with this structure.
Connection with present: the situation continues in the present.