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2 Introduction English uses the present perfect tenses (simple and continuous) to talk about actions and states which start in the past but which have a link with the present.


4 It is used to: to talk about states that started in the past and are still continuing in the present (often with for and since): - The manor house has stood on this spot for over two hundred years. (It is still here.) - She has been a teacher since (She still teaches)

5 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE But (be careful!):  The manor house stood on this spot for over two hundred years. (It’s not there any more).  We are staying here for another three months. (This refers to the future)

6 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE We also use the present perfect to talk about actions which happened in the past but may happen again in the future. The period of time in which the action took place is unfinished, so it may be repeated. The action may have happened only once: - I've only been to Paris once, but I'd love to go again. (My life is still continuing, so I may go to Paris again.) - NASA has sent probes to various planets in the solar system. (and may send more)

7 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE Sometimes we know the time is not 'finished' because of the time phrases we use: - This channel has shown four wildlife documentaries this week! - She has taken 15 pictures today. (The time period – today – is not over. She may take more pictures. BUT: She took 15 pictures today. – If you are sure that she won’t take any more pictures today.) Be careful: He has written some of the most successful thrillers. (He is alive and is still writing) He wrote some of the most successful thrillers. (He is either dead or he is not writing any more).

8 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE We use the present perfect after superlatives, e.g. the best/worst, the greatest, ordinal numbers, e.g. the first (second, third), the only, often followed by ever: - It's the worst sports programme I have ever seen. - Many people consider Kennedy to be the greatest President the USA has had.

9 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE A number of adverbs are commonly used with the present perfect : ever, often, seldom, never, so far, already, yet, still: - The president has seldom been put in such a difficult position. - I have never experienced any difficulties with this car. - We've received over 200 entries for the competition so far. - Only halfway through the financial year and British Aerospace has already announced that pre-tax profits will be down by seventy per cent. -'Have they announced the date yet?' 'No, they still haven't made up their minds.'

10 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE NB: We use already with the affirmative but yet with the negative and in questions: - I have already seen that film but they haven’t seen it yet. It is possible in US English to use the past simple with these adverbs: - We already saw the film but they didn't see it yet.

11 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE We can use the present perfect simple to talk about an action completed in the past which has some relevance to the present, e.g. there is a present result of the action: -The avalanche has devastated the skiing industry in the area. (result = the skiing industry is still having big problems) - She has washed her hair. (We can see that her hair is wrapped in a towel.) - They have done their shopping. (We see the shopping bags.) - I've twisted my ankle. (That's why I'm limping.)

12 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE We often use this form to talk about recent actions: - We can start the interviews now, as all the candidates have arrived. - ‘Has the government put up the minimum wage?' 'Yes, it's £4 per hour now. ' Common adverbs with the present perfect in this use are just, recently and lately: - Has the sports centre increased its membership fees lately?

13 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE We can use the present perfect when the time is indefinite, i.e. when no time is stated, especially when the past action has some relevance to the present: - Mrs Peterson has arrived. She's in the office and is ready to see you now. - They have bought a new house. (The exact time is unknown or unimportant. What is important is that they now own a new house.)

14 PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE As the present perfect simple expresses relevance to the present, news broadcasts and reports often use it to introduce a story, before moving into past tenses: - Former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere has died at the age of 77 in a London hospital. He came to London in... - The police have finally arrested the robber. He was trying to leave the country when they caught him. Similarly, we often use it to introduce a new topic of conversation: - I've heard from Maurice - he's been in Australia for the last two months. In time clauses (e.g. after, when) we use the present perfect with future reference: - We'll make a move as soon as the rain has stopped (=stops).


16 It is used: to talk about an ongoing state or action which began in the past and is still continuing: - Women have been speaking out on this issue for some time, with mixed results. - He has been talking on the phone for half an hour. It is common to use since or for with this use of the present perfect continuous: - I've been looking into the possibility of early retirement since the reorganisation.

17 PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS NB: The simple form of the present perfect often focuses on the fact that an action is completed, while the continuous focuses on the fact that it is still ongoing: Simple: I've learnt how to play chess. (= I can play chess now.) Continuous: I've been learning how to play chess. (= I'm still learning.)

18 PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS With the adverbs lately or recently (these can be implied), we use the present perfect continuous to talk about new developments which may be temporary: - Helen’s been spending a lot of time at the club lately. (= She didn't use to.) - This test result is much better. It's clear you've been revising. - I'm sorry the hall is in such a mess. We've been decorating.

19 PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS To describe actions that have stopped very recently. The action is not happening right not, but you can still see the results of the action: - You look tired. Have you been working? - You feet are wet. Have you been swimming? - The kids have been playing here – there things are all over the room. - It’s been raining – the streets are wet.

20 PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS Be careful: - I’ve read a book about elephants. (I read it.) - I’ve been reading a book about elephants. (I read a part of it.) - She’s written the article. (The article is over.) - She’s been writing the article. (The article isn’t finished.) - He had a cold for 2 days. (He is fine now.) - He has had a cold for 2 days. (He is still sick.)

21 PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS Sometimes you can use either the PPS or PPC with basically the same meaning. This is especially true when you use verbs such as live, work, study, teach with for and since: - He has lived here for 2 years. - He has been living here for 2 years.

22 PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS To express annoyance about an action that frequently repeated in the past and the present: - Jim has been phoning Jill every night for the past week. - Somebody has been stealing from us.


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