Present Perfect Tense
(rules + dialogues + story)

1) The present perfect is made with
have (for I, we, you, they) + past participle
1. I have seen that movie.
2. We
have seen that movie.
3. You
have seen that movie.
4. They
have seen that movie.

has (for he, she, it) + past participle
1. He has seen that movie.
2. She
has seen that movie.
3. It
has seen that movie.

2) The present perfect is used for several reasons:
1. to talk about an unfinished action:
have lived in New York for 25 years. (...I'm still here)
has known him for a long time. (...she still knows him)
has had his car since 1987. (...he still has it)

2. to talk about an
indefinite past:
has seen The Wizard of Oz many times. (I can't tell you when.)
've talked to your teacher. (I don't remember the date we spoke.)
Have you eaten Japanese food before? (You don't know when or even if.)

3. we use the present perfect with certain words (for idiomatic reasons):
've never met him.
Has he ever seen Beauty and the Beast?
've already finished the first assignment.
Have you done the dishes yet?
has your mother been lately?
What good books
have you read recently?
hasn't learned very much so far.
Up until now, I
haven't gotten any mail from him.
Your secretary
has just finished the report.

Past vs. Present Perfect
Use the simple past with ago: (how long ago?)
He came here seven years ago.

Use the simple past (or a time) in the since-clause, but use the present perfect in the main clause:
s hated him since the day they met.
has heard from a lot of relatives since she won the lottery.
ve worked for him since 1987.
ve been waiting since 3 o'clock.

Put a length of time after for: (for how long?)
I delivered papers for three years. I quit when I was fourteen.
ve lived here for 25 years, and I don't plan to move.

Present Perfect Dialogs (by Rick Shur)

1) The Job Interview
Ms. Green: Have you ever had an interview with us before?
Palmer: No, I haven't.
Ms. Green: Can you drive?
Palmer: Yes, I've had my license for five years.
Ms. Green: Have you ever had an accident?
Palmer: I crashed once while trying to park.
Ms. Green: I see. Have you ever been arrested?
Palmer: I was arrested once for drinking and fighting.
Ms. Green: I see. Mr. Palmer, why do you want to work for us?
Palmer: I've never driven a truck before. I think it might be fun.
Ms. Green: Have you ever been seriously ill?
Palmer: I was in the hospital once after somebody stabbed me with a knife, but I've never been sick.
Ms. Green: I see. Well, thanks for coming.
Palmer: But we've just started the interview.
Ms. Green: Yes, but I think I've heard enough. We'll let you know if anything becomes available.
Palmer: I've always been a hard worker.
Ms. Green: I'm sure you have. Thank you for dropping by.
Palmer: I've never missed a day of work, except when I've been in jail.
Ms. Green: I'm sure you're very reliable. It's been a pleasure.
Palmer: I've only been in jail three or four times in my whole life.
Ms. Green: That's wonderful news. Our secretary will help you find the door. Bye-bye!

2) The Experiment
Henry: Dr. James, we're ready to begin the experiment.
Dr. James: Have you prepared the monkey's food?
Henry: Yes, I have.
Dr. James: Have you tied the monkey to the chair yet?
Henry: Yes, I've done that, too. I did it early this morning.
Dr. James: Have you put the blindfold over the monkey's eyes?
Henry: No, I haven't done that yet.
Dr. James: Well, do it now.
Henry: Wait a minute... Where is he?
Dr. James: I don't know, Henry. I haven't worked with him since yesterday. When did you tie him to the chair?
Henry: I tied him up at about 8 o'clock this morning.
Dr. James: Have you checked on him since you tied him up?
Henry: No, I haven't. I've been busy preparing the special bananas.
Dr. James: Oh, my God! That means Boo Boo has escaped!
Henry: I can't believe it. I tied him up so carefully.
Dr. James: He's always been a very smart monkey, Henry. In fact, he's always been a little smarter than you.
Henry: I'm sorry, Dr. James. It won't happen again.
Dr. James: I haven't performed a good experiment since the day you started working here!
Now find that monkey, or you'll eat those bananas!
Henry: But Doctor! Those bananas might be deadly!
Dr. James: We haven't proven it yet.
Henry: But if I die, we will prove it!
Dr. James: And we'll also save the life of a very intelligent monkey.

Rick Shur’s Experiences

has lived an interesting life so far. He has traveled, tried new experiences, learned different skills, and he has had dramatic moments in his 61 years.

As much as Rick loves his home in Manhattan, he
has ventured out of town on occasion. He has been all over the United States. He has been to Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco twice. He went to San Diego in 1993 to make a videotape for a publisher. He was in San Francisco in 1991 to interview a writer who knew Ernest Hemingway when he was younger. In 1987, Rick went to the Midwest, and he visited Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Detroit He has been to Florida several times.

He went there in 1977 to visit a friend and another time in 1982 to see his cousin in Miami. Unfortunately, Rick
has never been to Europe, but he hopes to go someday. On the other hand, he’s been to Asia, both to China and Japan. He went to China in 2001 to attend an educational conference and to Japan a week later to visit an old college friend. What’s more, he’s been to Mexico three times, first as an exchange student and twice on vacation. In his travels, Rick has been on a jet and a small plane, but he has never been on a ship or in a helicopter. He would like to take a cruise someday if he ever earns enough money to afford a nice one, and he would love to see Manhattan by helicopter someday, too.

has spent his life learning different things. He learned to type when he was ten because his third grade teacher couldn't read his handwriting. He learned how to program a computer in 1982, in the early years of personal computers, when the Apple II worked with only 64K. He learned how to program an Apple and the old-fashioned IBM, and recently, he has been learning how to program the newer machines, in Visual Basic.

has learned several languages besides ones for programming. When he was 16, he lived in Mexico with a Mexican family, as an exchange student, so he learned Spanish at that time. He has studied French and German, but he hasn't learned to speak them as well as he speaks Spanish. What’s more, he knows a little Russian and Chinese, but not well enough to go shopping in Moscow or Beijing. He learned to swim when he was six years old, and he has swum constantly since then.

Rick is very adventurous when it comes to food. He
has tried almost every kind of cuisine, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Dominican and African food. He has drunk many kinds of liquor, including tequila. Pulque and aguardiente, but he has never eaten the worm that sometimes comes in a bottle of tequila. He was invited to eat dog at a Korean restaurant when he was in Beijing, but he politely declined.

Like all people, Rick
has experienced many things, some of them dramatic and not too pleasant. He was mugged on Avenue B back in 1975 by two men with knives. They took his money, but not his life, thank God. Rick has never been in a hospital, except to visit sick relatives, but as a child, he had the measles, mumps, chicken pox and several other diseases. He got better from each of them, and he has never had a serious illness since childhood except for hepatitis, which he caught in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, probably from something he ate.

has never had a serious problem with drugs or alcohol, although he smoked a lot of marihuana when he was in college. In those days, he once smoked marihuana that had angel dust in it. Rick didn't know that, so he thought he was going crazy. He believed that everybody in the neighborhood was able to read his mind, and he ran to Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric ward in Manhattan to report the news. Rick has been more careful about the drugs he has been using since that terrible experience. Now, as an adult, he takes only the drugs that he can buy at Duane Reade or CVS.

Fortunately, in addition to bad experiences, Rick
has had many happy ones. He won a hundred dollars one Halloween at a Stupid Costume Contest in a bar. His costume was the Statue of Liberty. He had a foam rubber crown that cost him a dollar, a flashlight for Liberty’s torch, and a magazine for her tablet. Everybody agreed that it was the worst and most stupid costume they had ever seen, so he won the first prize. Rick has found money several times. Once, he found $120 on a subway platform, which he kept. He also found five dollars in his building's lobby a few years ago, which he also kept. Rick is generally an honest person, but he doesn't think that it's possible to return lost money in New York City.

Rick is about 61, so his life is probably only half over because he plans to live to be 122. He expects to have a lot more interesting experiences in the second half of his life.

If you want to see an example of using other time forms, read this article.
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