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Present Perfect Simple

have/has + past participle
Example: He has finished his homework.
have/has not + past participle
Example: I haven't finished my homework.
have/has ... + past participle?
Example: Have you finished your homework?

The principal uses of the present perfect are listed below.

  • To refer to a time period which is not yet finished (e.g. today, this month):
    We've bought a new house this week. (an incomplete period)


    Present Perfect Simple

  • To show that something happened in the past. We don't state when is happened:
    I've lost my watch. Have you seen it anywhere?

    Note: If we give the time we must use the simple past:
    I lost my watch yesterday. (not I've lost my watch yesterday)

    The following time expressions are often used: ever, never, always, up to now, so far.
    This is the worst storm we've ever had. (at any point before now)

  • To talk about a situation which started in the past and usually continues after the time of speaking in the present:

    Present Perfect Simple

    He has lived here for six years. (He has lived here till now)

    We use for with a lenght of time (e.g. for three weeks, for two days, for six years) and since with a point in time (e.g. since 2010, since Wednesday, since nine o'clock, since I was five, since I moved here)

  • To talk about an action which occured at an unstated time in the past, provided that there is still a connection with the present:
    Iíve collected all the documents that are needed for the house sale. (I have the documents now)

    Note: If we give the time we must use the simple past:
    I lost my watch yesterday. (not I've lost my watch yesterday)

    The following time expressions are often used: recently, just, already, and yet with negatives or questions.
    I've just arrived.
    Have you done your homework yet?

Compare the use of the present perfect with the past simple:

Present perfect Past simple
links the past with the present:
John has won several awards. (at some point before now and he may win more awards)
only talks about the past:
John won several awards in 2012.
does not talk about a specific time in the past:
Have you read the latest issue of the Magazine? (at some time before now)
states a specific past time, or the time is understood:
I read the latest issue of the Magazine when I was at home. (I'm not at home now and the reading is finished)
uses time expressions that show the time period is unfinished:
I haven't seen John this morning. (up to 12 noon, the morning isn't finished)
uses time expressions that show the time is finished:
I didn't see John this morning. (after 12 noon, last morning has finished)
   

Note the position of the following time expressions that occur with the present perfect:

  • between the auxiliary and main verb (e.g. recently, already, always, ever, just, never):
    I've already bought my ticket.
    Iíve never met your brother.


    Ever is generally used with questions or negatives:
    Have you ever been to London?

  • after the main verb (e.g. all my life, every day, yet, before, for ages, for two weeks, since 2001, since I was ten etc.)
    I haven't seen him for ages.
    Iíve known John since I was ten.


    if there is an object clause, the time expression comes at the end:
    I've read this book every morning since then.
    He hasn't ridden since he broke his arm.


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