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Present perfect 1 (I have done)
Study this example silllation:
Tom is looking for his key. He can't find it.
He has los1 his
He has 10sI his =He lost it rcc(mly. and he still
doesn't han' 11.
Ha\'eJhas 1051 is the presellf perfect simple:
l/welthey/you ha\'c (= I'\'e etc. I
1= he's etc.l
The presem perfect simple is haveJhas + past participle. The paSt participle often ends in .w.
(finished/decided etc.). bUI many important arc irregular lIosrldonelwritten etc.).
For a list of irregular "CfM, see Appendix I.
When we say that 'something has happened', this is usuallr new information:
o Ow! I've CUt my finger.
o The road is dosed. There's been (there has been) an accident.
o (from tile "elUs) Police have arrested rwo men in connection with the robbery.
When we use the present perfect, there is a connection with now. The action in the pasr has a
result flOW:
o 'Where's your key?' "don't know. I've lost ir: (= I don't h,H'e it now)
o He told me his name, but I','e forgonen ir. (= I can't remember it now)
o 'Is Sally here?' 'No, she's gone out: (= she is out now)
o I can'l find my bag. Have ),ou seen ir? (= Do you know where it is /Iow?)
You can use the present perfecl with JUSt, already and yet.
JUSI = ;1 shon time ago:
o 'Are you hungry?' No. I'vc jusl had lunch:
o Hello. Have rOll jusl arrived?
We use already to say that something happened sooner than expected:
o 'Don't forget to send the letter: 'I've already senl it:
o 'Whar rime is Mark leaving?' 'Hc's alrcady gone:
Yet = unril now. Yel shows that the speaker is something to happen. Use only
in questions and negative sentences:
o Has it SlOpped raining yet?
o I've written the letter, but I haven't sent it yet.
Note the difference between gone (tal and been (to):
o Jim is on holiday. He has gone [Q Italy. (= he is there now or on his way rhere)
o Jane is back home now. She has been to Ital)'. 1= she has now come back)
Present J)('rftct - Units 8,11 Been to - Unit'!. BA, 1268 Pre'!.ent continuou'!. - Units 9-10
Present J)('rfect and past - Units 12-14 Yet and already .... Unit 111 American Engli'!.h - ApJ)('ndix 7
Present perfect 2 (I have done)
Study this example conversation:
D,WE: Have you travelled a lOt. Jane?
JANE: Yes, I've been ro lors of places.
DAVE: Really? Have you e\'er been ro China:
JANE: Yes, I've been lO China twice.
DAVE: What about India?
JANE: No. I haven', been to India.
Jane's life
(a period until now)
p.1$t IIOIl'
When we talk abom a period of rime that continues from the past until now. we use the
perfect (have been I have travelled erc.l. Here. Da\'t' and J:lne are talking about rhe
places Jane has visited in her life (which is a period Ihat continues until nowl.
Some morc examples:
o Have you evcr ealen caviar? (in your life)
o We've never had a car.
D 'Have you read Hamlet?' 'No, I haven't rcad any of Shahspearc's plays:
o Susan really loves thar film. She's seen it eight times!
o What a boring film! It's the most boring film I've ever seen.
Been (co) = visited:
o I've never been to China. Have you been there?
_in the lasl few days_
--since breakfast
In the following examples tOO, the speakers are talking about a period that continues until now
(recently I in the last few days I so far I since breakfast etc.):
o Have you heard from Brian recently?
o J've met a lot of people in the last few days.
o Everything is going wdl. We haven't had any problems
so far.
o I'm hungry. I haven't eaten anything sil'\ce breakfast.
(= from breakfast until now)
o It's good to see you again. We ha,'en't seen each orher
for a long time.
now past
We use the present perfect with today I this evening Ithis year etc. when these periods are not
finished at the time of speaking (sce also Unit 14B):
o I've drunk four cups of coffee today.
o Have you had a holiday this year (ret)?
o I haven't seen Tom this morning. Have you?
o Rob hasn't studied very hard this term.
We say: It's the (first) time something has happened. For example:
o Don is having a driving lesson. h's his first one.
It's the first time he has driven a car. (not drives)
or He has never driven a car before.
o Sarah has lost her passport again. This is the second
time this has happened. ("or happens)
o Bill is phoning his girlfriend again. That's the third
time he's phoned her this evening.
ThiS is the: first time:
I've: drive:n a car.
prrfttt 1 - Unit 7 Prestnt prrfect + (orlsina. ...... Units 11-12
Present prrfect and past - Units 12-14
Present perfect continuous
(I have been doing)
It has been raining
Study this example situation:
playing ere.
(= I\-t: etc. I
(= hc's etc.)
Is it raining?
:"Jo, but the ground is wet.
It has been raining.
Havelhas bt=en -ing is the presellt perfect COlltj"uOIIS:
We use the present perfect cominuous for an activity that has recently Slopped or JUSt SlOPped.
There is a connection with now:.
a You're out of breath. Have you been running? (= you're out of 1Iow)
o Paul is vcry tired. He's been working very hard. (= he's tired nowl
o Why are your clothes so dirty? What have )"OU been doing?
o I've bn talking to Amanda about the problem and she agrs ""id, me.
a Where have you been? I've been looking for you cverywhert'.
It has been raining for two hours.
Study this situation:
Ir began raining twO hours ago and it is still raining.
How long has it been
It has been raining for twO hours.
Wle use the present perfect continuous in this way with
how long," for ... and since , ... The acth"ity is still
happening las ill this exampleI or has jusl STOpped,
o How long have you been learning English? (= you're stilllcarning English)
o lim is still watcning television. He's been walching television all day.
o Wnere have you been? I've been looking for you for the I:m half hour.
o Chris hasn't been feeling well recently.
You can use tne present prefecl continuous for actions repeatcd over a period of lime:
o Debhie is a very good tennis player. She's been playing since she was eigh!.
o Every morning they meet in the same cafe. Tney've been going tnere for years.
Compare I am doing (see Unit I) and I have been doing:
I am doing
present continuous
I have been doing
present perfect continuous
o Don'l disturb me now. I'm working.
o We need an umbrella. It's nlining.
o Hurr)' up! We're waiting,
I'\e been working hard, :-':OW I'm going
to have a break.
=The ground is wel, Jr's been raining.
=\'('c'\"c been waiting for an hour.
Present perfed continuous and simple -+ Units 10-11 perfect + for/since - UOIts 11-12
Present perfect continuous and simple
(I have been doing and I have done)
Study this example situation:
Kare's clothes are cO\'ere4 in paint.
She has been painting the ceiling.
Has been painting is the pr{'setlt perfect
We :ue interested in the activity. Ir does not
maner whether something has been finished
or nOt. In this example, the activity (painting
the ceiling) has nOI been finished.
Compare these examples:
o My hands are vcry din)'. "vc been
repairing the car.
D Joe has been eating tOO much recendy.
He should eat less.
D h's nice 10 see )'OU again. What have you
been doing since we last met?
o Where have you been? Have you been
playing tennis?
We use the cominuous to say hOllJ IOllg (for
an activity that is still happening):
o How long have )'OU been reading
that book?
o Lisa is still writing Icners. She's been
wriling Icners all day.
o Thc)"vc been playing tennis since
2 o'clock.
o I'm learning Spanish, bur I h,H'cn'r been
lcarning it very long.
The ceiling was whire. it is red.
She has painred the ceiling.
Has painred is the prtStllt perftct SImple.
Here, Ihe important thing is that something
has been finished. Has painted is a completed
action. \'('e are interested in Ihe result of rhe
IIhe painted ceilingl. nor the
o The car is OK again now. I've
repaired it.
a Somebody has eatcn all my chocolates.
The box is empty.
o Wherc's the book I ga\'e you: Wh,)[
ha\'c you done with it:
o Have you e\'er played lennis:
\'(/e use the simple 10 say holl' IIIlId), how
111111/)' or hOIf! m(/I/)' tilllcs (tor completed
a How llluch of that book ha\'e you read:
a Lisa has wriucn ten letters
o They\'e played tennis Ihree times this
o I'm learning Spanish. but I haven't
learnt \'ery much yet.
Some verbs (for example, knowllikeJbelieve) are not normally used in the continuous:
o I've known about il for a long time. (IIot I\c been knowing)
For a list of these verbs, see Unit 4A, But nOtc [ha1 rou <:01/ want and mean in ,he
perfect continuous:
o I've been meaning to phone Jant'. but I keep forgening.
Prtsent perfecl simple - Units 7-8 Prtsenl perftct conlinuous - Un;1 9
Prtsent perfecl + forlsintt ...... Unils 11-12
How long have you (been)
Study this example situation:

D.m and are married. They got married eX3cdy
10 yt:J.TS J.gu. SU is Iheir 20th wedding anniwrsary.
ha\'c been married for 20 years.
We say: They arc married. fpre$mt)
bllt How long h:H'C Ihey been married? (preselll perfectJ
(/lot How long are [hey married?)
They ha\'c been m.lrried for 20 years.
(IIut They art' married for 20 years)
present pufee,
We use the prese,,' perfect (0 talk aboul something thal began in [he pasl and slill conrinues
now. Compare rhe prese1l1 and the presenl perfect:
o Bill is in hospital.
but He has been in hospital since Monday.
("01 Bill is in hospital since Monday)
o Do you know each olher well?
bllt Have you known each Other for a long lime?
(1I0t Do you know)
o She's waiting for somebod}'.
but She's been waiting all morning.
D Do they have a car?
but How long have they had their car?
J have known/hadllived ete. is the presellt perfect simple.
J have been learning I been waiting I been doin1! elc. is the present perfect COIlt;nIlOllS.
When we ask or say 'how long" th, l:ontinuotls is more usual (sce Unit 10);
D I've been learning English for six months.
D It's been raining since lunchtime.
a Richard has been doing the same job for 20 years.
D 'How long have you been driving?" 'Since I was 17.'
Some verbs (far example, knaw/likclbclievc) are nOI normally used in the cominllolls;
D How long have yOll known Jane? (lIot have you been knowing)
o I've had a pain in my stomal:h all day. (not I"\'e been having)
See also Units 4A and lac. For ha\'e, see Unit 17.
You can use either the present perfect continuous or simple with li\'e ::md work:
D Julia has been living I has lived in Paris for a long time.
D How long have yOll been working I have you worked here?
But we use the simple (I"\'e lived I I've done etc.) with always:
o I've always lived in the country. ("ot always been living)
We say 'I haven't done something sincdfor .. : tprt'st'1It perfect simple-I:
D I haven't secn Tom since Monday. 1= Monday was thc last time I saw him)
o Sue hasn't phoned for ages. {= the last time she phoned was ages ago)
1haven't ... sintt/for -. Unil8A Present perfect continuous - Units 9-10 For and since - Unit 12A
Wc: use for .lIld since to S:lY now long something has been happening.
Wc liSt' for + ;\ lX'riud of tinll' (IWO hours. \'f" use since + the STarl of a period
six weeks erc.); 18 o'clock. 1999 elc.):
o I've been waiting for tWO hours. :J I\'e been waiting since 8 oc1ock.
For and since
When ... ? and How long

for rwo hours
tlVO hUll'S ago------_IIVU'
since 8 o'clock
8 0 'cluck------_ }lOll'
two hours a long rime a wt't.'k Ho'dock April lunchtime
20 minutes six months agl'S Monday 1985 wc
hve d.. )'s 50 11.\lay Christmas I gm up
o Sally has 1x"l"1l working hcre for six
months. ("ut sinl:c six months)
o J haven', seen Tom for three days.
(I/U( since thrt"C d.l}'s)
:J Sally has been working here since April.
1= irom April until nowl
::: I haven't seen Tom since
(= irom .\tonday until nowl
It is possible to leave OUI for (bur not usually in negari\'e sentences):
o They've been married (for) len years. (wirh or wirhour for)
o They haven'l had a holiday for ten years. (you musl use for)
We do '101 use for + all ... (all day I all my life etc.):
o I've lived here all my life. ("ot for all my life)
Compare when ... ? (+ pilslsimple) and how long ... ? (+ present perfect):
A: When did"it SI;lf1 raining:
11: It stdrtl"d r.lining an hour ago I al I o'clock.
:\.: How long has il been r.lining?
B: I(s been raining for an hour I since I o'clock,
..\: When did Joc and Carol nrSt meet?
. \ a long lime ago.
Ii: The\' hrst met
, when Ihe}" were al school.
A: How long h.l\c they known each mher?
for a long lime.
It: The\"\"t' known e,lch uther . h h I
. SlOce t Cl' were at sc 00,
Wc sa}' '11'5 (a long timt' I twO years cle.) since somclhing happened':
o 11'5 two years since I last saw Joe. (= I ha\'cn't secn Joc for rwo years)
o It's agcs since we wt'nt 10 the cinema. (= We ha\'en't becn to the cincma for ages)
You can ask 'How long is il since ... ?':
o How long is it since you last saw Joe? (= When did rou last sec Joe?l
o How long is it since Mrs Hill dicd? (= When did Mrs Hill did)
You can also sa)' 'It's been (= It has been) ... since ... ':
o hs been [WO )'t'ars since I last saw Joc:.
How long have you (been) ... ? - Unit 11
Present perfect and past 1
(I have done and I did)
Study this example situation;
Tom is looking for his k e ~ . He ',Ul'l find it.
He has 10sI his key. (presel/t perfectl
This means that he doesn't h;t\c his key IIOll'.
Ten minutes laler:
Now Tom has found his key. He has it now.
He lost his key lp"st simpleI
but now he has found it. lpresel/t perfect)
Has he loSt his key?
Did he lose his key?
~ o . he has found if.
Yes. he" did.
The present perfect (something has happened) is a present renSt'. Ir always tells uS about the
situation nQltJ. 'Tom has 10s1 his key' =he doesn't h.we his key now (S Unit 7).
The past simple (something happened) tells us only about the past. If somebody says 'Tom Ion
his key', this doesn't tell us whether he has the key now or nor. It tells us only rkat he lost his
key 31 some rime in the past.
Do flOt use the present perfect if the situation now is different. Compare:
o They've gone away. They'll be back on Friday. (they arc away flOW)
They went away, but I think they're back at home now. (flat They\'e gone)
o It has stopped raining now, so we don't necd the umbrella. (it isn't raining flOW)
It stopped raining for a while, bur now ifs raining again. (II0t It has stopped)
You can use the prcscnr perfect for new or recent happenings:
o 'I've repaired the TV. It's working OK now.' 'Oh. that's good.'
o Have you heard the news? Sally has won the lonery!
Use the past simple (flot the present perfect} for things that are nor recent or new:
o Mozart was a composer. He wrote more than 600 pieces of music.
(lIot has been ... has wrinen)
o My mother grew up in Scotland. (1/ot has grown)
o Did you know that somebody has invented a new type of washing machine?
o Who invented the telephone? (lIot has invented)
We usc the present perfect [Q give new information (see Unit 7). But if we continue ro talk
about it, we normally use the past simple:
o A: Owl I've burnt myself.
8: How did you do that? (1Iot have you donel
A: I picked up a hot dish. (flat ha\'e picked)
o A: Look! Somebody has spilt something on the sofa.
8: Well, it wasn't me. I didn't do it. (110/ hasn't been ... haven't done)
Past simple ...... Unit 5 Present perfect ..... Units 7-8 Pn:sent perfect and past 2 - Unit 14
American English - Appendix 7
Present perfect and past 2
(I have done and I did)
Do nor use the present perfect 11 have done) when you talk about a finished time (for example.
yesterday I tcn minulCS ago I in 1999 I when I was a childl. Use a past tense:
o It was very cold yesterday. (not has been)
o Paul and Luey arrived tcn minutcs ago. (not have arrived)
o Did you eat a lot of sweets when you were a child? (not ha\'(: you eaten)
o I got home late last night. I was vcry tired and went straight to
Use the past to ask When ... ? or What time ... ?:
o When did your friends arrive? (not ha\'c ... arri'"cd)
o What time did you finish work?
Present perfut
o Tom has lost his kc}'. He can'l get into
the house.
D Is Carla here or has she left?
Puse'" perfect (have doneI
o I've done a lot of work today.
We use the present perfect for a period of
time Ihal continues Itlltil flOIll, For example:
today Ilhis week I since 1985.
Past simple
=Tom losl his kry He couldn't
get into the house.
=\Vhen did earla lean"?
Past simple (did)
:::: I did a lot of work ycsterday.
We use the past simple for a finished time in
the past. For example:
yesterday Ilast week I from 1995 to 2001.
=It didn't rain last week.
e Did sce Anna this morning?
(it is now afternoon or e\'ening)
c Did you sce Tim on Sunday?
c.'>": Was Lisa at the parry on Sunday?
R: I don't think so. I didn'l see her.
e \X'e waited (or were waiting) for an
hour. I\\'e arc no longer waiting)
=lan li"ed in Scotland for ten years.
:"Jow he li\'es in London.
:::: I didn't play golf last summer.
:::: After )'011 come b..,Ck from bo/id.l)' )'011
sa)': h was a really good holiday. I
really enjoyed it.
-,--,- titiJL.-_
past /lOIl'
o It hasn'l rained this week.
o Have you seen Anna this morning?
(it is still morning)
o Have you seen Tim recently?
o I don't know where Lisa is. I haven't
seen her. (= I haven't seen her recently)
o We've been waiting for :m hour. (we
are still waiting now)
o lan lives in London. He has li\'cd there
for seven years.
o I have never played golf. (in my life)
o It's tile last do)' of )'Ollr holida}'. YOII
say: h's been a really good holiday.
I've really enjoyed it.
r finished...,
Iyesterday I
Past simple' .... Unil 5 Present .... Units 7-8 Present ptrfect and past 1 .... Unit 13
Past perfect (I had done)
Study this example situation:
Sar:lh went [Q a parry laSI week. Paul went la the
too. bur they didn't see each Olher. Paul left the
parry at 10.30 and Sarah arrived at 11 o"c1ock. So:
\'(/hen Sarah arri\'cd at the parry. Paul wasn't there.
He had gone home.
Had gone is the p.lSt perfea (simple}:
at 10.30 at 11.00
(= I'd erc.)
(= hc'd erc.1
finished ere.
The past perfect simple is had + past participle (gonelseenJfinishcd ere).
Sometimes we talk about something that happened in the past:
o Saran arrived at the party.
This is the starting point of the Stor)'. Then, if we want to talk about things that happened
before this rime, we use the past perfect (had ... ):
o When Satah arrived at the party. Paul had already gone home.
Some more examples:
o When we gOt home last night, we found that somebody had broken into the flat.
D Karen didn't want to go to the cinema with us because she'd already seen the film.
D At first Ilhought I'd done the right thing, but I soon realised rhat I'd made a big mistah.
o The man sitting next to me on the plane was very nervous. He hadn't Aown before.
or ... He had never flown before.
Compare the presem perfect (have seen etc.) and the past perfect (had seen etc.):
Present perfect
have seen
P,lSt perfect
bad seen
past JlOW p<Jst now
Compare the past simple (left, was etc.) and the p<Jst perfect (had left. had been etc.):
o Who is that woman? I've never seen
her before.
D We aren't hungry. We've JUSt had lunch.
o The house is dirty. The)' haven'r cleaned
il for weeks.
o A: Was Tom there when you arri\'ed?
8: Yes, but he lefl soon afterwards.
o Kate wasn't at home when I phoned.
She was at her mother's house.
[ didn't know who she was. I'd never
seen her before. (= before that time)
=\'(/e weren't hungry. We'd lUSt had lunch.
=The house W,IS dirty. They hadn't
cleaned it for weeks.
=..\: Was Tom there when you arrived?
8: 1\:0, he had already left.
=Kate had just gOt home when I phoned.
She had been ar her mother's house.
Past ptrfect continuous -- Unit 16 InTgular verbs (gone/seen etc.) -- 1
Past perfect continuous
(I had been doing)
YesTerday morning I got up and looked out of the
window. The sun was shining. but the ground was
,'cry WCt.
Ir had been raining.
h was 1101 raining when I looked our of the window:
the sun was shining. But it had been raining before.
Had been -ing is the pJst perfect COllt;llIlQltS:
playing etc.
(= I'd etc.)
(= he'd etc.)
Study this example situation:
yesterday mortl;1Ig
Some more examples:
o When the boys came into the their clothes were dirty. their hair was untidy and
one of them had a black eye. They'd been fighting.
o I was very tired when J gOt home. I'd been working hard all dOl}'.
o When I went to Madrid a few years ago, I stayed with a friend of mine. She'd been living
there only a short time but knew the cit}' "ery well.
You can say that something had been happening for a period of time before something else
o We'd playing tennis for about half an hour when it staned to rain heavily.
o George went to the doctor last Friday. He hadn't feeling well for some time.
Compare have been ing (present perfect continuous) and had .ing (past perfect cominltolts):
Present !}erfect cO/ltinuous
I'ast perfect contil1uollS
I had been -ins I --'L
past 1101/1
I have been -ing
o I hope the bus comes soon. I've been
waiting for 20 minutes. (before /Iow)
o Jarnes is out of breath. He has been
o At last the bus came. I'd been waiting
for 20 minutes. (before the blls came}
o James was out of breath. He had been
Compare was -ing (past continuous) and ha;d been -ing:
o It wasn't raining when we went out. The sun was shining. But it had been raining, so the
ground was wet.
o Cathy was sitting in an armchair resting. She was tired because she'd been working
very hard.
Some verbs (for example, know and like) are not normally used in the continuous:
o We were good friends. We had known each other for years. (not had been knowing)
For a list of these verbs, see Unit 4A.
perfect continuous .... Units 9-10 Past perfect simple .... Unit 1S