Where to Use Present Perfect Tense
We use this tense when we want to talk about unfinished actions or states or habits that started in the past and continue to the present. Usually, we use it to say ‘how long’ and we need ‘since’ or ‘for’. We often use stative verbs.
1.’Since’ and ‘For’.
We use ‘since’ with a fixed time in the past (2004, April 23rd, last year). The fixed time can be another action, which is in the past simple (since I was at school since I arrived).
- I have known Sam since 1992.
- I have liked chocolate since I was a child.
- She has been here since 2 pm.
We use ‘for’ with a period of time (2 hours, three years, six months).
- I have known Julie for ten years.
- I have been hungry for hours.
- She has had a cold for a week.
- These are actions or events that happened sometime during a person’s life. We don’t say when the experience happened, and the person needs to be alive now. We often use the words ‘ever’ and ‘never’ here.
- I have been to Tokyo.
- They have visited Paris three times.
- We have never seen that film.
- With an unfinished time word.
(This month, this week, today) The period of time is still continuing.
- I haven’t seen her this month.
- She has drunk three cups of coffee today.
- I have already moved house twice this year!
We CAN’T use the present perfect with a finished time word.
- A finished action with a result in the present (focus on the result).
We often use the present perfect to talk about something that happened in the recent past, but that is still true or important now. Sometimes we can use the past simple here, especially in US English.
- I have lost my keys.
- She has hurt her leg.
- They have missed the bus.
- We can also use the present perfect to talk about something that happened recently, even if there isn’t a clear result in the present.
This is common when we want to introduce news and we often use the words ‘just / yet / already / recently. However, the past simple is also correct in these cases, especially in US English.
- The Queen has given a speech.
- I have just seen
- The Mayor has announced a new plan for the railways.
- Been and Gone
In this tense, we use both ‘been’ and ‘gone’ as the past participle of ‘go’, but in slightly different circumstances. We use ‘been’ (often when we talk about life experience) to mean that the person we’re talking about visited the place and came back.
- I have been to Paris (in my life, but now I’m in London, where I live).
- She has been to school today (but now she’s back at home).
- They have never been to California.
We use ‘gone’ (often when we are talking about an action with a result in the present) to mean that the person went to the place and is at the place now.
- He has gone to the shops.
- Julie has gone to Mexico.
- They have gone to Japan for three weeks.
- Present Perfect vs. Present Simple
(a) An action that started in the past and is still continuing. The present perfect is often used for an action that started at some time in the past and is still continuing now. In this case, the words for (with a length or period of time) and since (with a specific starting time) are usually used with the present perfect.
- He has lived in Pune for five years. (still there)
- She has worked at the University since 2000. (still working)
(b) For An action that started in the past and was completed, we use Past simple. We may know it from General knowledge or by using time words..
- He lived in Pune in 2018. (now, not in Pune)
- She worked at the University in 2000. ( now not at there)