Present Perfect Tense

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Present Perfect Tense can be used in three situations:

1. To indicate something that has happened at an indefinite time in the past.

I have seen that movie already.

She has left for California.

They have not eaten their dinner yet.

2. To indicate something which started in the past and continues until now.

I have lived in New York for nine years.

We have been here since Friday.

He has played football since he was a child.

3. To indicate something which occurred recently.

I have been sick lately.

She hasn't slept much recently.


When speaking about a specific time, use past tense.

A: I have seen that movie already.

B: Oh really? When did you see it?

A: I saw it last week with Bob.

(Non-specific time)

(Specific time)

Some words should not be used in situation 2 (above)

I have met John for five years.

I have known John for five years.

I met John five years ago.

I have met John already.





Sometimes, but not always, present perfect continuous can be used instead of present perfect.

I have lived there for ten years.

I have been living there for ten years.

I have exercised a lot recently.

I have been exercising a lot recently.

I have seen that movie ten times.

I have been seeing that movie ten times.






(NOT Okay)

For Practice: See
"For" or "Since" (from The Internet TESL Journal)

See also:
Present Perfect (from

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Last updated: 15 February, 2010 02:43:16