The present perfect is used to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important. We cannot use the present perfect with specific time expressions such as yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child, when I lived in Paris, at the moment, that day, one day, etc. We can use the present perfect with unspecific expressions such as ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, etc.
- There have been many earthquakes in Alhoceima.
- I think I have met her once before.
- Has there ever been a war in Iraq?
- Have you read the novel yet?
The Different Uses of the Present Perfect
USE 1: EXPERIENCE
The present perfect can be used to describe an experience:
- I have been to France.
It is like saying “I have the experience of going to France.” You can also use this tense to say that you have had the experience of doing something.
- I have never been to Japan.
Therefore, the present perfect is not used to describe a specific event.
USE 2: CHANGE OVER TIME
We also use the present perfect to talk about change that has happened over a period of time:
- You have grown since the last time I saw.
- The Moroccan government has become more interested in education.
- My health has really improved since I gave up teaching in private institutions.
USE 3: ACHIEVEMENTS
We also use this tense to talk about the accomplishments of individuals. (no specific is mentioned in this regard):
- Neil Armstrong has walked on the moon.
- Our daughter has learnt how to write.
- Alexander Fleming has discovered penicillin.
USE 4: AN UNCOMPLETED ACTION ONE IS EXPECTING
We also use this tense to say that an action which we expected has not happened:
- Ahmed has still not arrived.
- Ahmed has not arrived yet.
- Zeynep has not finished her homework yet.
USE 5: SEVERAL ACTIONS AT DIFFERENT TIMES
We use this tense to talk about an action that occured many times in the past until now. (A repeated action has happened in the past and that may occur again (the process is not complete and more actions are possible).
- We have had a great deal of controversy while dealing with this issue.
- She has sought the advice of several doctors, but nobody knows the nature of her disease.
- I have been married three times. (This might happen again)
USE 6: THE MOMENT IN THE PAST IS EITHER UNIMPORTANT OR UNKNOWN
The present perfect is also used to show an action that happened at an unspecified moment in the past. That moment in the past is either unknown or of no importance:
- Have you ever seen the rain coming down on a sunny day?
- Where have you been?
USE 7: PRESENT EVIDENCE OF A PAST ACTION
We are interested in what happened until now and in the present outcome of an action that finished in the past:
- My friend has broken her leg.
NOTE: What matters here is the result of this past action (I can see his broken leg wrapped in plaster).
- Reda has bought a new car.
NOTE: I can see it parked in front of his house.
USE 8: EVENTS THAT OCCURED BEFORE YOU EXPECTED (ALREADY)
I’ve already graduated from university. (I expected to graduate at a later date.)
USE 9: EVENTS THAT BEGAN IN THE PAST AND HAVEN’T CHANGED (for, since)
- Mouna has worked at Farah Hotel for 3 years.
NOTE: Mouna started working at Farah Hotel 3 years ago and she still works there now).
Zeynep has worked at Farah Hotel since September.
NOTE: Zeynep began working at Farah Hotel in September of last year, and that hasn’t changed – she still works here now)
Present Perfect Quiz PART 1
Complete the following sentences using either the past simple or the present simple! Don't forget to share your score at the end of the quiz!
You can try our other quizes here.
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