Present Perfect Tense

The Present perfect tense is super useful in English, but it can be tricky for speakers whose languages don't have it. Do not let the present perfect tense scare you! Forming the tense itself is quite easy. The tricky part comes with understanding when to use it. When we use the present perfect, there is a connection with the present moment.


The Present perfect tense is formed using the auxiliary verb have or has (depending on the subject) followed by the past participle of the main verb.

Here's the formula:

Subject + have/has + past participle of the verb


  • I have seen her.
  • You have seen her.
  • He has seen her.
  • She has seen her.
  • It has seen her.
  • We have seen her.
  • You have seen her.
  • They have seen her.

The past participle of regular verbs ends in -ed (loved, walked, etc.) but irregular verbs have unique past participle forms that don't follow a predictable pattern. You need to learn them individually. 

We can contract the subject and the auxiliary verb have or has in speaking and informal writing. 

Here's how it works:

  • I have becomes I've.
  • You have becomes You've.
  • He has becomes He's.
  • She has becomes She's.
  • It has becomes It's.
  • We have becomes we've.
  • They have becomes they've.

We can make the present perfect negative by simply adding not between have/has and the main verb.

Here's the negative formula:

Subject + have not/has not + past participle of the verb


  • I have not seen her.
  • You have not seen her.
  • He has not seen her.
  • She has not seen her.
  • It has not seen her.
  • We have not seen her.
  • You have not seen her
  • They have not seen her.
Remember, have not and has not can be shortened to haven't and hasn't.
  • I/You/We/ They haven't seen her.
  • He/She/It hasn't seen her.
We form question sentences in this tense by reversing the subject and the auxiliary verb have.

Here's the formula:

Have/Has + subject + past participle of the verb

  • Have I seen her?
  • Have you seen her?
  • Has he seen her?
  • Has she seen her?
  • Has it seen her?
  • Have we seen her?
  • Have you seen her?
  • Have they seen her?
The past participle of the main verb remains the same in both negative and question forms.

We use the Present Perfect to talk about:
1. Actions started in the past and continue up to the present.

  • I have lived in this city for five years.
  • She has lived in New York since 2010.
2. Actions that happened in the past but have an impact on the present situation

  • She has lost her keys.
  • I have eaten lunch, so I'm not hungry anymore.
3. Actions that have finished recently, especially when the exact time is not specified
The present perfect can be used here with words like just, recently, already, yet.

  • She has just finished her homework.
  • We haven't finished dinner yet.
4. Experiences in someone's life

  • Have you ever seen an eclipse?
  • They have met some amazing people.
5. Multiple actions repeated at different times until now

  • We've had a lot of tests this year at school.
  • We have won five games this season.
Time expressions
We use the present perfect with "unfinished" time expressions.
  • I've met with several clients this week.
  • There haven't been any problems until now.
  • He has learned several languages in his life.