Present Perfect

What are Present Perfect verbs?

The present perfect verb tense is a grammatical form used to denote actions that were completed at some indefinite point in the past. It is often used to describe experiences or states of being that took place prior to the present moment.

This tense is especially useful when discussing background information, as it indicates that something has already happened even though there may not be an exact timeframe specified.

By specifying present-perfect verbs, you are able to communicate certain elements of a story more accurately and quickly without needing to provide too much detail about the exact time period.

Present Perfect Rules

Learning these four critical rules when using the Present Perfect will help communication become clearer and easier.

ConjugationsBe aware that many verbs have unique present conjugations and must be memorized separately from the regular form – for example, the verb ‘I went’ becomes ‘going’ instead of ‘went’.
Habitual actionsRemember that present sentences indicate habitual actions or those which occur in the present tense.
DescriptionsPresent verbs emphasize universal truths like wide-spread statements of fact while simple past adverbs can be used to describe an action taking place beyond a single instance.
Auxiliary verbPresent questions use an auxiliary verb alongside the main verb – such as ‘did’, ‘was’, or ‘were’ – when forming a question.
Present Perfect Rules and Explanations Table

Examples of Present Perfect Verbs

The present perfect verb tense is useful for expressing actions that have been completed recently or over an unknown period of time. It’s an important form to know and use, as it ties the present with the past. There are a few examples of present-perfect verbs that you can use to get familiar with this grammar concept. For instance:

  • “To have”
  • “I have eaten”
  • “You have cleaned”
  • “They have seen”
  • “To do”
  • “He has done his homework”
  • “She has done the dishes”

Becoming more comfortable with the present perfect will help you to become a better communicator in English. Knowing all forms of grammar is essential for speaking fluently and accurately.

Present Perfect Exercises with Answers


  • I _ _ around the world.
  • I _ _ many books.
  • We _ _ this before.
  • He _ _ control.
  • We _ _ waiting for too long.


  • I have travelled around the world.
  • I have read many books.
  • We have seen this before.
  • He has taken control.
  • We have been waiting for too long.

Present Perfect Verbs List

Have been EatingTypically occurs multiple times throughout the day for sustenance.
Have been thinkingAn individual’s thought process.
Have been speakingCommonly used when communicating.
Have been doubtingA way of saying something is unsure
Have been leavingUsed to indicate impermanence
Have been goingSuggests expectations of going somewhere.
Have been writingTo describe an action of recording things down.
Present Perfect Verbs List Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

For English language learners, mastering present perfect can be a challenge. But with practice and the right attitude, it is definitely possible to become proficient in present perfect usage. A great strategy is to practice engaging activities such as reading aloud or having conversations with native speakers whenever possible to gain more exposure.

Also, try using present perfect in your daily conversations so you become more comfortable using it in everyday settings. Furthermore, don’t forget to look up rules if you are ever in doubt – there are tons of websites that offer guidance on present perfect! With dedication and perseverance, anyone should be able to master the present perfect and increase their fluency in English as an ESL student.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand future progressive, present perfect progressive and past perfect.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

One of the most common mistakes made by English learners is misusing the present perfect. This occurs when a learner conflates present perfect with other tenses, such as present simple or past simple, leading to confusion and incorrect sentence structure. Difficulty with present perfect stems from its unique use in present-based conversations. Whereas present simple is used to talk about repeated actions happening right now, present perfect refers to actions that have happened at an earlier point, but still relate to the present.

Understanding this distinction is essential for successful communication in English, taking language learning beyond simply memorizing vocabulary and improving conversational proficiency.

Common Mistakes:

1. Incorrect Tense

Why it Happens

Not having a firm grasp on correct tense usage can confuse your statements. This can cause you to use the wrong verbs and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking in the present perfect tense, you would use a verb that reflects current habits and routines. Keep tense in mind when selecting your verbs.

2. Lack of Compounds

Why it Happens

The first mistake is leaving out verbs when needed. Failing to use these in phrases can lead others to misinterpret what you are trying to express.

Correct Use

Verbs join two words to actions – for example, ‘to eat something’ or ‘I am crossing the street’.

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3. Inconsistency

Why it Happens

People forget how they described something before and change the context in a contradictory manner. This confuses the reader.

Correct Use

Be sure that your verbs remain consistent throughout your writing. There should be no sudden shifts from ‘happen’ to ‘finish’ unless there was a clear shift in the thing being described.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

You don’t know which verbs to use, so you use too many and it confuses the statement.

Correct Use

Using too many verbs can make your writing sound monotonous and can also lead to viewers losing interest. Therefore it is important to focus on expressing yourself clearly and effectively with them.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

It’s important to pay close attention when using the present perfect verb tense. By mastering present perfect usage, we can avoid making costly mistakes in our spoken and written communications.

  • One of the best tips for doing so is to keep in mind the rule that present perfect sentences always involve some type of past event related to present circumstances. To use present perfect accurately, we should include an auxiliary verb like ‘have’ or ‘has’ along with a past participle verb form such as ‘gone’, ‘arrived’, or ‘written.’
  • We may also wish to double-check our work by referring to respected websites and sources that present perfect rules and examples.

In time, following these simple tips should result in more successful communication using present perfect verb conjugation!

English Grammar Learning Infographic

Why it helps

Learning Present Perfect Strategies and Best Practices

Balancing the present perfect tense with other tenses can be tricky, but it is an important task for learners to master in order to communicate effectively. Learning present perfect strategies and best practices gives students the foundation for recognizing and using this verb form correctly. Many teachers offer their students tips, such as understanding that present perfect is used for unfinished actions that started in the past and are still happening, or how the present perfect can show a link between two ideas. Additionally, keep reading for more useful tips:

Tip 1: Study a List

Why it helps

Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems with daily practice. A list can simplify this process and make it seem less daunting.

Daily Life Example

The best way to learn to use verbs correctly is to study a list of verbs and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Exposing yourself to verbs hidden between other words can help you identify them faster and with more accuracy.

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently a type of verb should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear. So keep a book of your choice on hand and highlight every verb you come across.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps

By applying the verbs exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future.

Daily Life Example

Take your time when speaking to people. Take note of the verbs they use, and try and repeat them back in different contexts. You can also do this from the comfort of your home by recording yourself or using an AI assistant.

Present Perfect Verbs Frequently Asked Questions

The present perfect is a verb tense used to indicate ongoing events or activities that happened in the past but which have present implications. The special rules for present perfect are used in three ways: to express an action that happened over a period of time; to talk about experiences and situations that started in the past and continue into present; and/or as a polite way to ask questions.

For example, “I have been studying French for six months,” expresses how much time has been spent on an activity; “My mother has worked at that office for thirty years,” suggests a situation that began in the past and continues until now; and “Have you seen the new recipe yet?” is asking a question in more polite form than present simple.

The present perfect tense is used in English to refer to an event or action that started in the past and continues to the present day. It is made up of two parts: the present tense of the verb “to have,” followed by the past participle of a given verb.

For example, if you wanted to say you had done something, you would use present perfect, which would be “I have done it.” This allows us to express actions that began in the past time range but still hold weight today.

Present perfect isn’t just restricted to verbs either; we can also use them with adjectives and adverbs. By using present perfect within our sentences, we are able to better communicate ideas and information in foreign languages.

Teaching present perfect can seem intimidating, especially for those with limited grammar knowledge. However, there are some simple techniques to make the present perfect more accessible.

To start, present perfect should be taught using a contrastive approach – having students compare present perfect with the present tense and past simple to allow them to understand the nuances between the tenses. Engaging in real-world conversations is also key; activities, where students discuss how events affect their present lives, can help bring the present perfect to life.

The past perfect tense is used to describe something that happened in the past and was completed before some other event in the present. One of the most common examples of this type of tense is “had + verb (past participle)”.

For example, if you said “She had closed the door,” it implies that she closed the door before a present event such as now or when someone knocked on it. It is also sometimes referred to as pluperfect because its action occurs “more than” or before the present perfect.

Despite the confusing name, present perfect is the simple tense used to express that something happened in the past without giving an exact time or date. It is aptly named present perfect because it present’s a change from the past that still has an effect on the present.

For example, if someone says, “I have eaten dinner,” it implies that these special situations have happened in the recent past and their effects are present in their life. The present perfect tense allows for a sense of immediacy and relevance that other tenses don’t always provide.

Knowing your verbs can help you understand the English language. Some other verbs commonly used are stative verbs, irregular verbs, helper verbs, mixed verbs, action verbs, simple verbs, sense verbs, verb phrases, non-continuous verbs, and many other tense examples that depict English verb tenses. They can be used for language ranging from newsworthy events to major life experiences. 

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