When it comes to understanding English grammar, practice makes perfect. In this week’s post, practice will make the present perfect as we go over how to correctly use this verb tense to give your English level an extra boost.
Many English learners struggle with the present perfect and when to correctly use it. To put it simply, we use the present perfect to talk about actions and events that occurred in the past but are still connected to the present. Within the present perfect there are two forms, the simple and continuous, the key differences will be explained below:
Present Perfect Simple.
The present perfect simple is formed with the use of the verb have/has with the past participle. The structures for affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences are shown below:
|He has watched the film.
Él ha visto la película.
|He hasn’t watched the film.
No ha visto la película.
|Has he watched the film?
¿Ha visto la película?
The present perfect simple is used to talk about actions or states that happened in the past and have a result in the present. In the case of the example above the result would be that the film has been seen by the person.
Present Perfect Continuous.
The present perfect continuous is used to talk about an action or event that started in the past but is still happening now. In addition, while the present perfect simple emphases more the result of an action, the continuous puts more focus on the action itself or the time period in which the action is taking place. The tense is formed with the use of the verb have/has, the past participle of the verb to be (been), and the gerund or -ing form of the verb. Here is how the present perfect continuous is formed:
|We have been waiting 20 minutes for our food.
Hemos estado esperando 20 minutos para nuestra comida.
|We haven’t been waiting 20 minutes for our food.
No hemos estado esperando 20 minutos para nuestra comida.
|Have we been waiting 20 minutes for our food?
¿Hemos estado esperando 20 minutos para nuestra comida?
Remember that some verbs such as state verbs are rarely used in the -ing form such as want, know, understand, hate etc. As a result, use these verbs in the present perfect simple.
I hope that this post helps to clear up any doubts that you may have had about these verb tenses. Take a look at the exercises in the PDF to practice your knowledge of the perfect tenses.
Download the PDF worksheet for this post here.