Jan 262013

In this episode of iswearenglish 100: Formation and Use of Tenses in English series you can learn about how to form and when to use the Present Perfect Simple.

How To Form The Present Perfect Simple:
For positive statements take a subject (I, tomorrow, my friends…) then use the auxiliary verb to have in the corresponding form of the present simple (have, has) and then use the past participle formed by taking the infinitive without to and adding …ed for regular verbs (walked, talked, jumped, constructed), or using the word in column 3 for irregular verbs (eaten, seen, understood). Put all this together: I have constructed. The dog has eaten. Be careful to use has with third person singular. Notice the contractions I’ve and he’s. To make negatives place not after the auxiliary have or has. I have not constructed. The dog has not eaten. Notice the contractions I haven’t and he hasn’t. So make questions interchange the positions of the subject and the auxiliary have or has. Have I constructed? Has the dog eaten? If you wish you can place a question word (who, what when…) before the auxiliary have. What have I constructed? What has the dog eaten? The table below sets out the form of the present perfect simple:

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I have constructed I have not constructed Have I constructed?
You have constructed You have not constructed Have you constructed?
He has constructed He has not constructed Has he constructed?
She has constructed She has not constructed Has she constructed?
It has constructed It has not constructed Has it constructed?
We have constructed We have not constructed Have we constructed?
You have constructed You have not constructed Have you constructed?
They have constructed They have not constructed Have they constructed?

How to form the present perfect. Take a subject I and then use the present simple of the auxiliary verb have, I have. To this you add the past participle. To make the past participle take the infinitive of the verb without to for example construct and add …ed, constructed. So to make your present perfect of the verb construct, I have constructed. Or contraction: I’ve constructed. Second person you have constructed. You’ve constructed. He has constructed. He’s constructed. She has constructed. It has constructed. We have constructed. You have constructed. They’ve constructed. To make negatives put not after the have. I have not, or I haven’t constructed. You have not constructed. He has not constructed. She hasn’t constructed. It has not constructed. We have not constructed. You have not constructed. They have not constructed. To make questions change the place of the subject and the auxiliary have. So. Have I constructed? Have you constructed? Has he constructed? Have we constructed? Have you constructed? Have they constructed? So that’s how to form, or construct the present perfect. In the next video I’ll explain when to use it, what it means. That’s more problematic. See you. Bye.

How To Use The Present Perfect Simple:

Before we start, remember we must use the present perfect simple and not the continuous for verbs of state (like, own, posses, think, smell)

Unfinished Time Up To Now

The first main use of the present perfect is for time up to now. An action or situation that started in the past and continues up to the present. This gives us the concept of unfinished time, which is a very important use of the present perfect. For example: I have always lived here. Situation started in the past and continuing up to now. There are many words that give this concept of unfinished time, such as: Today, in my life, this year, never, yet and many more. These words are very commonly found with the present perfect. Today I have visited… In my life I have always been… This year there have been… Notice the contrast between these and words of finished time, which invite use of the past simple. Yesterday I went… In my great grandfather’s life there were… Present perfect simple for actions in unfinished time.

Present Effects of Past Events

The second main use of the present perfect is for actions or situations in past finished time (normally we would use past simple), but these actions or situations has effects in the present. For example I have broken my leg (present effect: I can not walk now). I have visited India (I know something about India relevant to the present conversation or situation). Very often the present perfect can be used to express both present effects and time up to now. For example: I have not worked in four years. I have no money now (present effect) and situation of not working (unfinished from the past up to now).

Hi. When to use the present perfect simple. OK, the present perfect simple has various uses. The first I would like to talk about is time up to now. A situation that started in the past and continues up to now. An action that started in the past and continued up to now. For example: I have lived in Spain for 10 years. Situation started in the past and continues up to now. With this meaning we often use words like today, in my life, never. I have never visited Vietnam. In my life from the past to now, this situation continues. That is the idea of time up to now. If you look at this we can contrast this time up to now with other words like yesterday. That gives us finished time. So, Yesterday I was, but today I have been. Unfinished time. Now let’s look at another use of the present perfect simple. We use it for actions or effects or situations in the past that have a present, a current effect. For example: We’re in the bar. I’ve lost my wallet. Something that happened in the past, but it means now I can’t pay now. The loss of the wallet in the past has a present effect, I can’t pay now, at this moment. I’ve broken my leg. I can’t walk now. He has gone to Jamaica. He isn’t here now. He is on holiday now. So that’s the idea, something in the past that has an effect in the present. We also use the present perfect simple to announce news. For example: A train has crashed, 200 people were injured. A volcano has erupted. So notice both of those, we use the present perfect simple here, to give news. Normally when we continue to give more details, we continue in the past simple. So the volcano has exploded, it covered many towns with lava and it burnt many trees. OK, there you have 2 past simples to contrast with. So that’s how to use the present perfect simple. I hope you’ve understood it, if not play it again. I’ll see you in another video soon. Bye.

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