ESL Resources for Students & Teachers - Simple English News

Language Tip: Simple Present Perfect Tense


image grammarThe simple present perfect tense is sometimes misused by the non-native speakers of English as they often think this tense is interchangeable with the past or in some cases with the present.

Incorrect: I am here since Thursday
Correct: I have been here since Thursday.

The present perfect tense is always used when we there is a relationship between the present and the past.

It is created by using the following: have (in the third singular person – has) + past participle (the third form of a verb).

Positive sentence:
We have (We’ve) met them.

Negative sentence:
You have not (haven’t) done your homework.

Has he spoken to you?

The present perfect tense often connects with “indefinite” time terms (e.g., ever, so far, never, yet, just, already, so far, this morning, today, etc.).

  • in questions

Have you ever been to Canada?
Have they finished their homework?
Has she seen our new film yet?

  • relationship to present

I have been ill (and I still do not feel well) .
We have (We’ve) known each other for 30 years.
They have (They’ ve) been here for two months (they are still here).
So far we have not received anything.
I have (I’ve) lost my keys (and I still have not found them).

  • in negatives

I have not talked to him yet.
I have not spoken with them since last week.

  • and action took place in an undefined period of time

We have bought a new house.


I am here for two days (I plan to be here two days).
I have been here for two days (I came here two days ago and I am still here).

The main difference between the simple present perfect and past tense: a concrete past time reference term can only be used with the past tense.

We have already seen it.
We saw it yesterday (last year, two days ago…).

In the simple present perfect tense the preposition in the following example changes as it is shown in comparison with the past tense.

I have been to London.
I was in London last year.

© Simple English News™ / 35 Ways To Perfect English