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.
We use the Present Perfect to talk about:
- 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:
|I have seen an alien.
He has lived in Bangkok.
Have you been there?
We have never eaten caviar.
|The action or state was in the past.||In my head, I have a memory now.|
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:
|I have bought a car.|
|Last week I didn't have a car.||Now I have a car.|
|John has broken his leg.|
|Yesterday John had a good leg.||Now he has a bad leg.|
|Has the price gone up?|
|Was the price $1.50 yesterday?||Is the price $1.70 today?|
|The police have arrested the killer.|
|Yesterday the killer was free.||Now he is in prison.|
Connection with present: the present is the opposite of the past
Present Perfect for continuing situation
We often use the Present Perfect 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 situation (not an action). We usually use for or since with this structure.
|I have worked here since June.
He has been ill for 2 days.
How long have you known Tara (for)?
|The situation started in the past.||It continues up to now.||(It will probably continue into the future.)|
Connection with present: the situation continues in the present.