1. What is the present perfect tense?

The present perfect tense is used to describe something that has happened between a time in the past and now.

The time has not finished. The action has finished.

2. Examples of unfinished times

The first step in making the present perfect tense is to have an unfinished time.

Examples of unfinished times include:

todayin the last 3 days
this weekduring my work
this yearmy life

*Recently can be finished or unfinished.

3. How to make the present perfect tense

To make the present perfect tense, use:

  • (unfinished time) + have + perfect participle (p.p.)

*Perfect participles include been, eaten, gone, seen, etc..

*Note: ‘have’ changes to ‘has’ when using he, she or it

Unfinished timeHavePerfect participleExample sentence
this weekhavegoneThis week I have gone to school.
todayhaveeatenToday Ken has eaten 3 hot dogs.
the last 3 monthshaveboughtIn the last 3 months have bought two new cars.
my lifehavebeenI have been to Malaysia three times.

4. Examples

I have gone to school.The boys have stolen a car.
She has done her homework.My computer has broken,
They have taken all my money.Silvio has eaten my pudding and so I am going to kill him.

5. Questions using the present perfect tense

To make a question in the present perfect tense, use:

  • have + subject + p.p. + time phrase

*Note: *there is no need for a time phrase if people know what the time is.

Question words (what, why, how, etc.) can be added to the front of the question.

question wordhavesubjectp.p.time phrasefull question
whathaveyoudonetodayWhat have you done today?
whathavetheyeatenthis morningWhat have they eaten this morning?
whyhashedoneWhy has he done that?
haveyoubeenHave you been to Delhi?

It is possible to talk about multiple actions within large periods of time.

What have you done this morning?I have woken up.
I have eaten breakfast.
I have gone to school.
What have you done this week?I have visited my grandfather.
I have gone to the cinema.
I have been to Beijing.
Describe your life.I have been to Las Vegas.
I have graduated from high school.
I have got married and had 23 children.

6. Using ‘haven’t’

The present perfect tense can describe what you have not done.
For this, change ‘have’ to ‘haven’t’.

He hasn’t cleaned the dishes today.I haven’t met you in a long time.
She hasn’t been to Japan.Henrietta hasn’t taken her exam yet.

7. Exercises

1. Answer these questions:
(i) What have you done today?
(ii) what have you done this week?
(iii) what have you done (in your life)?

2. Think of some things you haven’t done today.