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Lesson 1.1

Present Perfect

El presente perfecto
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In general, the present perfect is a mix of the present and the past. It is used for actions in the past that have significance in the present.

Grammatical Rules

Form

To form the present perfect tense we use the auxiliary verb “to have” in the present simple tense, as well as the past participle of the principal verb. For regular verbs, the past participle of verb is the regular past simple form (verb + “-ed”). See the lesson on the past simple for more information on forming the past tense.

To form the present perfect tense we use the auxiliary verb “to have” in the present simple tense, as well as the past participle of the principal verb. For regular verbs, the past participle of verb is the regular past simple form (verb + “-ed”). See the lesson on the past simple for more information on forming the past tense.

Subject Auxiliary Short FormPast Participle
I, you, we, they have I’ve, you’ve, we’ve, they’ve talked, learned, traveled…
he, she, it has he’s, she’s, it’s talked, learned, traveled…

Note: Keep in mind that there are many irregular past participles in English. Below is a list of some of the most common irregular past participles.

Verb Past Simple Past Participle
  be   was/were   been
  do   did   done
  go   went   gone
  make   made   made
  see   saw   seen

Structure

1. Affirmative Sentences

Subject + auxiliary verb (to have) + past participle…

Examples:

 I have [I’ve] talked to Peter.
 She has [She’s] gone to work.
 We have [We’ve] been to London.
 They have [They’ve] learned English.

2. Negative Sentences

Subject + auxiliary verb (to have) + “not” + past participle…

Examples:

 I haven’t talked to Peter.
 She hasn’t gone to work.
 We haven’t been to London.
 They haven’t learned English.

3. Interrogative Sentences

Auxiliary verb (to have) + subject + past participle…?

Examples:

 Have you talked to Peter?
 Has she gone to work?
 Have you been to London?
 Have they learned English?

Uses

The present perfect is used for actions or events that occurred at an unspecified time before the present. The specific time is not important and therefore we generally do not use specific time expressions (“this morning”, “yesterday”, “last year”…) with the present perfect. On the other hand, we can use nonspecific time expressions with the present perfect (“never”, “ever”, “many times”, “for”, “since”, “already”, “yet”…). This concept of nonspecific time is quite difficult to understand and so below you will find further explanation of the particular uses of the present perfect.

1. The present perfect is used to describe an experience. It is not used for specific actions.

Examples:

 I have never flown in a plane.
 He has worked in many different museums.
 We have been to Rio de Janeiro.

2. We use the present perfect to express change over time.

Examples:

 I have become more timid in my old age.
 Their English has improved a lot this year.
 He has learned to be more patient.

3. The present perfect is used for accomplishments.

Examples:

 Our football team has won the championship three times.
 Dan has finished writing his first novel.
 Scientists have succeeded in curing many illnesses.

4. We use the present perfect for actions or events that have not yet happened. The use of the present perfect in these cases indicates that we are still expecting the event or action to occur. Therefore, we frequently use the adverbsyet” y “still” with the present perfect.

Examples:

 The plane hasn’t arrived yet.
 Our team still hasn’t won a championship.
 You haven’t finished your homework yet?

5. The present perfect is used to discuss actions or events that occurred at various times in the past. The use of the present perfect in these cases indicates that further actions or events are possible in the future.

Examples:

 We have spoken several times, but we still can’t reach an agreement.
 Our team has played 4 games so far this year.
 I love New York! I have been there 5 times already and I can’t wait to go back.

6. As we will see, in general we use the present perfect continuous for situations that began in the past and continue into the present. However, as we have learned, there are some verbs which we cannot use in the continuous tenses. In these cases, we use the present perfect simple.

6. As we will see, in general we use the present perfect continuous for situations that began in the past and continue into the present. However, as we have learned, there are some verbs which we cannot use in the continuous tenses. In these cases, we use the present perfect simple.

Examples:

 How long has Michael been in Barcelona?
 I have loved you since the day I met you.
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