Present perfect simple

What is the present perfect simple?

The present perfect simple is one of the English verb tenses.

You can learn more English online by visiting our free English grammar lessons, which include other verb tenses and more grammar points.

You can also find more grammar, vocabulary and communication tasks for each English level:

Use & examples

The present perfect simple tense links the past to the present and we use it to describe:

present perfect simple

(1) Unfinished situations or periods of time

[English level A2 - English level B1]

It describes actions or situations (single or repeated) that started in the past and continue to the present (and possibly into the future).

  • I've lived in Munich for two years. (I still live in Munich NOW.)
  • We've gone to the gym (once/three times) this week. (This week is NOT finished.)
Present perfect simple 1 - Timeline

present perfect simple 2

(2) Life experiences

[English level A2 - English level B1]

It can also describe finished experiences in the past, and can refer to single or repeated actions. It is used when the time of the experience is not important or not important.

  • He's lived in Japan.
  • I've visited a lot of amazing countries.
Present perfect simple 2 - Timeline

present perfect simple 3

(3) Recently finished situations

[English level B1]

It can also describe actions that were finished recently (a short time ago), and can be emphasised with 'just', 'already'.

  • He's (just) arrived at work.
  • I've (already) cleaned the house.
Present perfect simple 3 - Timeline

Form

How do you write and pronounce the present perfect simple?

Form: Key points

  • Use the auxiliary verb 'have' (have/has) + main verb (Past participle).
  • To form the past participle of main verbs, add 'ed' to the base form of the verb, which is the infinitive without 'to'.

Here are examples of the affirmative (positive) form, negative form and question form using the verb 'live'.

Present perfect simple - Affirmative
Present perfect simple - Negative

Contractions

It is also possible to contract subject pronouns with auxiliary verb + 'not'

  • I've not
  • He's/She's/It's not
Present perfect simple - Question

Short answers

  • Yes, I have. / No, I haven't.
  • Yes, you have. / No, you haven't.

Other questions forms

  • How long...?
    (unfinished situations - used with for and since)

    How long have you lived in Germany? For 2 years.
  • Have you (ever)...?
    (life experiences)

    Have you (ever) been to Africa? No, I haven't.

Pronunciation

We commonly use contractions (e.g. 'I've met friends' or 'He hasn't worked today') for the present perfect simple tense, especially when speaking English.

The present perfect simple with 'ed' has three different pronunciation sounds.

  • /t/ (e.g. worked, helped) - when 'ed' comes after an unvoiced consonant sound.
  • /d/ (e.g. stayed, lived) - when 'ed' comes after a voiced consonant or a vowel sound.
  • /ɪd/ (e.g. started, decided) - when 'ed' comes after the sounds /t/ and /d/.

Notes

For the present perfect simple, we have extra information about:

  • spelling exceptions for verbs and
  • time expressions that you can use.

Spelling exceptions for verbs

The past participle for regular verbs is the same as the past tense form and ends with 'ed'.

Sometimes we need to remove a letter, and other times we need to add another letter. Here are the exceptions:

1) One 'e' at the end of a verb
Add 'd' at the end of the base form.

Examples:
[live] I've lived in Germany.
[save] I've saved money for a new car.


2) Verb ends with consonant + one stressed vowel + one consonant
Double the final consonant.

Examples:
[stop] I've stopped the car.

* Verbs ending with an unstressed vowel
These follow the normal rules, and the last consonant is not doubled.

Examples:
[develop] They've developed a new idea at the company.


3) Verb ends in 'l' (British English)
Double the final consonant before -ed'.

Examples:
[travel] I've travelled with friends.


4) Verb ends with 'ic'
Add 'k' before -ed'.

Examples:
[panic] He's panicked about the exam.


5) Irregular verbs
There are many irregular verbs which don't follow the rules and you just need to remember them!

Examples:
[see] He's seen this film.


Time expressions used with present perfect simple

Here are time markers that can be used with the present perfect simple.

1) for
This gives a period of time.

Examples:
I've worked at this company for two years.


2) since
This gives a starting point.

Examples:
I've had this car since 2015.


3) just
This shows that something finished a short time ago.

Examples:
We've just eaten lunch.


4) already
This shows that something was finished earlier than expected.

Examples:
She's already gone home.


5) this week / month / year / today
These expressions can be used for periods of time that are not finished.

Examples:
He hasn't phoned his parents this month.


6) yet
This is used for negatives and questions about situations that were expected to happen.

Examples:
Have you cooked dinner yet?

Quizzes

Quiz 1: Unfinished situations or periods of time

My first year at university

[Topic: Education]

Type the verbs in the present perfect simple tense and use the affirmative, negative or question form.

Good luck and please share!