What Is the Perfect Aspect? (with Examples)

What Is the Perfect Aspect? (with Examples)

The perfect aspect (or complete aspect as it's sometimes called) is the aspect of a verb which expresses a completed action.

Perfect aspect is the term for verbs in a perfect tense.

Examples of Verbs in the Perfect Aspect

Here are some examples of verbs in the perfect aspect:

In the Past Tense
  • We had seen.
  • I had cleaned.
  • She had drunk.
In the Present Tense
  • I have seen.
  • She has taken.
  • It has found.
In the Future Tense
  • You will have finished.
  • They will have eaten.
  • She will have swum.

Forming the Perfect Aspect

The perfect aspect is formed using a form of the auxiliary verb have and the past participle. For example:

Forming the Past Perfect Tense

"had" + past participle
  • They had played.
Forming the Present Perfect Tense

"has" or "have" + past participle
  • He has played.
  • We have played.
Forming the Future Perfect Tense

"will have" + past participle
  • He will have played.

Verb Tenses Showing the Perfect Aspect

Here is a list of the verb tenses. The ones in the perfect aspect are shaded.

The 4 Past Tenses Example
simple past tense I went
past progressive tense I was going
past perfect tense I had gone
past perfect progressive tenseI had been going
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
The 4 Future Tenses Example
simple future tense I will go
future progressive tense I will be going
future perfect tense I will have gone
future perfect progressive tense I will have been going
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited and printed to create exercise worksheets.

See Also

complete aspect What is aspect? What is the perfect tense? What is the past perfect tense? What is the present complete tense? What is the future present tense? Glossary of grammatical terms