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ESL Grammar Resources

Present Perfect Tense           


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. (Non-specific time)
B: Oh really? When did you see it?  
A: I saw it last week with Bob. (Specific time)


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

I have met John for five years. (INCORRECT)
I have known John for five years. (CORRECT)
I met John five years ago. (CORRECT)
I have met John already. (CORRECT)

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

I have lived there for ten years (Okay)
I have been living there for ten years. (Okay)
I have exercised a lot recently. (Okay)
I have seen that movie ten times. (Okay)
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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