Grammar – Present perfect simple

Explanation  – Video  – Quiz  – More help


How to make present perfect

subject + have + past participle

I have played soccer for 6 years.

I have seen him recently.

Remember to change have to fit the subject.

Remember: the past participle verb is usually the same as the past simple verb. BUT, some common verbs are irregular.

Click here for a list of irregular verbs.


Put not after have and before the past participle.

Subject + have + not + past participle

I have not seen him.

I haven’t seen him.

My sister has not arrived.

My sister hasn’t arrived.


To make a close (yes/no) question, put have at beginning of the sentence, then the subject and the past participle.

Have + subject + past participle

Have you watched The Avengers yet?

Has she paid you for the taxi?

To make an open (wh-) question, but the question word at the front of a closed question.

Question word + have + subject + past participle

What have you done?

Where have you driven since you got your car?

When to use the present perfect

We use the present perfect when we are talking about an action in the past (that may of may not be finished) and a present time. The present perfect is used to join the past and the present.

Last week, I learned a lot of new grammar.

This week, I have learned a lot of new grammar.

These two sentences are very similar, but the times are different. Last week is always finished, so we use the past. This week is not finished, so we use present perfect.

Some times show past simple and others show present perfect.

Some times can be present perfect or past simple.

This morning, I went to the bank.

This morning, I have been to the bank.

The time for these two sentences is the same, but the first uses past simple while the second uses present perfect. Which sentence is correct depends on when the sentence is spoken.  The first sentence is correct if this morning is finished – if the sentence is spoken in the afternoon or evening. The second sentence is correct if it is spoken during the morning, so this morning is not finished.

In some sentences we don’t say the time.

My grandfather went to Australia.

My grandfather has been to Australia.

We are talking about my grandfather‘s life, so the time is ‘in his life.’ The first sentence uses past simple, which means in his life is finished, so the grandfather is probably dead. The second sentence uses the present perfect, so in his life is not finished, so the grandfather is alive.

The present perfect is probably the hardest tense in English. If you don’t understand, don’t panic. Talk to your teacher for more help. Just remember:

if the time is finished, use past simple, if the time is not finished, use present perfect.


Present perfect

small logo