Present Perfect Tense
In this lesson of Learning English as a Second Language, we shall learn:
- How to use Present Perfect Tense.
- The structure of Present Perfect Tense.
- Short Replies in Present Perfect Tense.
You may already know how to use Past Simple Tense and it is very important to be aware of it because for learning Present Perfect Tense you must know what Past Simple is. You know that we use Past Simple Tense for the actions that were completed in the past at some particular time.
I went to Lahore last week. (Last week ---> Specific Time)
Yesterday, I cleaned my room. (Yesterday -----> Specific Time)
Before I start explaining Present Perfect Tense I would like to tell you which I always tell before explaining any tense is that like other tenses Present Perfect Tense has many uses but in this lesson we will only learn one use of Present Perfect Tense.
Present Perfect Tense is used to show actions completed in the Past Time at some unspecified time. It means that when you want to tell that something happened in the past and time is not important to be mentioned, you are focusing the action and not the time , you will use Present Perfect Tense for that.
- I have seen Lahore (when? not mentioned)
- I have cleaned my room. (when ? not mentioned)
The above examples clearly express the use of Present Perfect Tense. In example no. 1 we did not show any time because time is not important , action of seeing Lahore is important. Likewise, in sentence no. 2 we did not mention any time that when we cleaned the room because we are not focusing the time but we are focusing the action that an action of cleaning the room took place in the past and when it happened is not important. That is why we used Present Perfect Tense.
Please remember that mentioning time is the basic difference between Past Simple and Present Perfect Tense. In Past Simple you have to show a specific time and in Present Perfect Tense you can not show any specific time.
- I cleaned my room last week (Past Simple sentence and Last week = Specific Time)
- I have cleaned my room. (Present Simple sentence and no time mentioned)
- I have cleaned my room last week (Wrong Sentence) ( you cannot use any specific time with Present Perfect Tense)
If you do want to mention time of an action completed in the past, you should use Past Simple instead of Present Perfect Tense. I told you earlier that Present Perfect Tense has a lot of other uses , we shall cover those uses in the future lessons.
Which Actions / Situations are related to Unspecific Time?
Beginners may have a hard time understanding actions or situations related to unspecific time. You can use Present Perfect Tense for the following:
- To show experience
- To show accomplishments.
- I have seen the Taj Mahal. (Experience)
- Man has conquered the moon. (Accomplishment)
Whenever you talk about experience or accomplishment, use Present Perfect Tense. Both experience and accomplishment don't require any time to be mentioned because they focus on the action rather than the time it took place.
That's it in this lesson. I hope you understood and now , you are ready to use Present Perfect Tense in your conversation. Do remember that practice is very important to polish your skills. Solve the following exercises to find out how much you understood this topic.
Structure of Present Perfect Tense
Subject + has / have + VIII* (Past Participle) + Object.
I have finished my homework
She has passed the examination
Subject + has / have + not + VIII* (Past Participle) + Object.
I have not finished my homework
She has not passed the examination
Has / Have + Subject + VIII* (Past Participle) + Object?
Have you finished your homework?
Has she passed the examination?
Note: * means the third form of a verb.
What is the meaning of Has / Have?
A lot of people learning English follow the method of translation to learn English which is completely wrong. Please do not try to translate or find the meaning of has/ have in the above structures because they do not have any meaning . We are just using has/ have as helping verbs in Present Perfect Tense, they do not mean anything in your own mother tongue. You must know that like other things in English Language has / have too have different uses , but in Present Perfect Tense , we are just using them as helping verbs.
A: Have you seen the movie Titanic?
B: Yes, I have ( a short reply)
2. A: Has your brother cleaned the room?
B: Yes , he has (a short reply)