The Present Perfect
is the bridge between the past and the present. In English there is a
clear separation between the past and the present. You could say it is
like a wall.
Sometimes you need
to go through or around this wall to show the connection between the past
and the present. In English you are not allowed to use the Past or Present
Simple for this. You need the Present Perfect!
do we need the Present Perfect?
- for actions which
started in the past and are still true now.
- e.g. "I
have worked for this company for seven years." This means that
I started working with this company seven years ago and I still
work with them now. If I said "I worked with this company for
seven years." it would mean that I do not work with them any
- * In English
you can not say "I work with this company for seven years."
because it is not allowed to tie the Present Simple to a past time.
You could say "I work with this company." because this
is a present fact, but if I want to say when it began or how long
it has been, I have to use the Present Perfect. E.g. "I have
worked with this company since 1992." or "I have worked
with this company for seven years."
- indefinite time
- The Present
Perfect is often used with indefinite time. Compare: "I have
seen the film Titanic." (but I dont say "when")
& "I saw the film Titanic last week."
- open questions
- We often combine
this "indefinite time" use of the Present Perfect with
the word "ever" to make open questions, which are great
for starting conversations. E.g. "Have you ever been to Seattle?"
- A possible
answer: "Yes, I have. I went there three years ago." (Note
how the tense changes to the Past Simple when we focus on what happened
in the past.)
Click here to go to page 2 - an overview of the Present Perfect