Read about using the present perfect. When you're ready, try these exercises to practise using the present perfect.
Using the present perfect, meaning before now
We use the present perfect when we want to talk about experiences - things which happened before now, but it isn't important exactly when.
I've never visited Egypt.
We make the present perfect with have + past participle (the third form of the verb, e.g. see - saw - seen). Have and has are contracted.
I have seen → I've seen
He has seen → He's seen
We often use it with expressions that can mean 'before now' like ever, never, yet, already, before, this week/month, how often?, three times.
How to make the present perfect simple
We make the present perfect simple with have/has + the past participle.
|I / You / We / They|
|+ Positive||I've seen this film before.|
|- Negative||I haven't seen this film before.|
|? Question||Have you seen this film before?|
|He / She / It|
|+ Positive||He's seen this film before.|
|- Negative||He hasn't seen this film before.|
|? Question||Has he seen this film before?|
Present perfect or past simple?
Look at these two examples:
- I've only eaten sushi once.
- I ate sushi with my sister last month.
The first example is the present perfect because we are thinking about experiences in your life before now. The second is the past simple because you aren't thinking about your whole life - you are thinking about one finished time (last month). Don't use the present perfect when you say a finished past time (e.g. 'on Tuesday', 'in 2002').
Students sometimes worry about when to use the present perfect continuous (have been doing). The good news is, we don't usually use the present perfect continuous with these before now time expressions. So if you see ever, never, already etc. you know that you should only use the present perfect simple (have done). You can read more about when to use the present perfect continuous here.
Present perfect: word order
We use already with positive sentences. We use yet with negative sentences and questions. Note the position in the examples below:
- I've already had dinner.
- I haven't had dinner yet.
- Have you had dinner yet?
Use already before the main verb, and use yet at the end of the sentence.
Now, try these exercises to practise using the present perfect.