Tenses (3) The simple present perfect “I have done…”

This tense is formed using the simple present of the verb ‘to have’ + the past participle I, you, we, they have seen, done, been, finished… he, she, it has seen, done, been, finished… It is used to connect the past and the present. It is especially used for finished actions in the past that are important in the present. Because of this, it is often used in news reports.


A. Examples from today’s news (from BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk) (Present perfect) 1. “Zimbabwe’s opposition leader has said that his country is facing a bleak future…” 2. “Burma’s military rulers have extended the detention under house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, government officials have said.” 3. (talking about more distant past events) “Since his election a year ago, the Pope has been to southern Italy and to his native Germany…” (Present perfect + passive) 1. “Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe has been re-elected in a landslide election victory…” 2. “Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been moved from hospital to a specialist care centre in Tel Aviv.” B. Examples from daily life: past events with results/consequences in the present 1. Event: I have lost my car keys. Consequence: I can’t get into my car. 2. Event: He has broken his arm. Consequence: He can’t play baseball. 3. Event: You have passed your exams! Consequence: You can go to university. 4. Event: Our visitors have just arrived. Consequence: We must entertain them. 5. Event: He has never studied any foreign languages. Consequence: He can’t speak or read any foreign languages The present perfect is not used when referring to a specific time in the past , such as yesterday, this morning, last week, in January, in 2003, and questions of the form ‘When did …?’ It is used with expressions which refer to a time period starting in the past and continuing up to the moment of speaking, such as ever, never, recently, often, already, yet. Q: Have you ever been abroad? A (negative): No. / No, never. / No, I have never been abroad. A (positive): Yes. / Yes, I have been to Australia. / Yes, I went to Thailand in 2003. Q: Have you finished your work yet? A (negative): No, not yet. A (positive): Yes. / Yes, I have already finished it. / Yes, I finished it this morning.

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