What Is the Present Perfect Tense? (with Examples)

What Is the Present Perfect Tense? (with Examples)

The present perfect tense is oddly named because it is used to describe actions that began in the past. However, it is different from the simple past tense because quite often the actions being described are still continuing into the present.

Examples of the Present Perfect Tense

Here are some examples of the present perfect tense (highlighted):

  • Janet has run two miles.
  • (This is the present perfect tense. In this example, Janet is still running when the words were said.)

  • Janet ran two miles.
  • (This is the simple past tense. In this example, Janet has stopped running when the words were said.)

  • David has worked alongside two of the world's finest scientists in the field of entomology.
  • (This is the present perfect tense. In this example, David might have finished working with those scientists, but the sentence carries the connotation that he is still working as an entomologist.)

  • David worked alongside two of the world's finest scientists in the field of entomology.
  • (This is the simple past tense. This example carries the connotation that David no longer works as an entomologist.)

More Examples of the Present Perfect Tense

Here are some more examples of the present perfect tense:

  • The board has decided not to uphold the appeal.
  • (Connotation: The board continues to uphold the appeal.)

  • I have taken the wrong path again.
  • (Connotation: I am still on the wrong path.)
Of course, you can have the negative version, which is formed "has not" or "have not" + "[past particple]":

  • The board has not decided not to uphold the appeal.
  • I have not taken the wrong path again.
And the question versions:

  • Has the board decided to uphold the appeal?
  • Have I taken the wrong path again?

Forming the Present Progressive Tense

Here is an infographic explaining the present perfect tense:



The Other Present Tenses

The present perfect tense is one of four present tenses. They are:

The 4 Present Tenses Example
simple present tense I go
present progressive tense I am going
present perfect tense I have gone
present perfect progressive tense I have been going




See also:

Tenses
Simple past tense
Past progressive tense
Past perfect tense
Past perfect progressive tense
Simple present tense
Present progressive tense
Present perfect tense
Present perfect progressive tense
Simple future tense
Future progressive tense
Future perfect tense
Future perfect progressive tense
 
The present perfect tense is formed:

has/have + [the past participle]

For example:

  • I have worked
  • She has painted

Forming the Past Participle (Regular Verbs)

If it's a regular verb, the past participle is the same as the simple past tense. In other words, it is formed like this:

Add "ed" to most verbs:

  • jump > jumped
  • paint > painted

If a verb of one syllable ends [consonant-vowel-consonant], double the final consonant and add "ed":

  • chat > chatted
  • stop > stopped

If the final consonant is w, x or y, don't double it:

  • sew > sewed
  • play > played
  • fix > fixed

If last syllable of a longer verb is stressed and ends [consonant-vowel-consonant], double the last consonant and add "ed":

  • incur > incurred
  • prefer > preferred

If the first syllable of a longer verb is stressed and the verb ends [consonant-vowel-consonant], just add "ed":

  • open > opened
  • enter > entered
  • swallow > swallowed

If the verb ends "e", just add "d":

  • thrive > thrived
  • guzzle > guzzled

If the verb ends [consonant + "y"], change the "y" to an "i" and add "ed":

  • cry > cried
  • fry > fried

Forming the Past Participle (Irregular Verbs)

If it's an irregular verb, the past participle is formed in all sorts of different ways. Here are some examples:

  • arise > arisen
  • catch > caught
  • choose > chosen
  • know > known

You just have to learn them.

Click here for a list of the most common irregular verbs.
 
 
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Click on the one with an example of the present perfect tense. Remember, you're looking for "has" or "have" + [past participle].