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09/14/2015

Using the Present Perfect Tense

When we want to say that an action occurred at an undisclosed time in the past, we use the Present Perfect verb tense in the form "has/have" + the past participle of the verb. Here is a short guide on how to recognize and use the present perfect tense correctly.

When Does Not Matter

You cannot use the present perfect when you mean a specific time- yesterday, today, last week, when I went to Mexico.  Instead, use the present perfect tense with unspecified times- never, ever, already, many times, yet. Unspecified time can be a difficult concept to grasp, so here are some topics that call for the present perfect.

Experiences

I have had or I have never had experiences, and they are retold using the present perfect. "I have been to France" and "I have never been to France." Note that the present perfect cannot denote a specific event.

Changes

Use the present perfect to discuss change over a period of time. "You have dyed your hair since I last saw you." "I have become a talented oboe player after years of practice."

Accomplishments

The present perfect can list accomplishments of humanity or individuals when no time is specified. "My baby has learned to talk." "Humans have walked on the moon."

Unfulfilled Expectations

Uncompleted actions that you expect or expected to occur take the present perfect tense. "Joe has not yet arrived." "I have not finished my work."

Many Actions at Different Times

Using the present perfect for multiple actions that have occurred in the past at different times implies that the process is still ongoing and the actions may repeat again. "The Patriots have won four Super Bowls in 15 years." "She has seen several doctors, but no one can diagnose her problem."

Time Expressions

The key to the present perfect is to remember that it works with unspecified times. Think of "last year" vs. "in the past year." The former is a specific time- the last calendar year- whereas "in the past year" means within the past 365 days. Since the latter is not specific, it requires the present perfect.

For Tutoring in West Bloomfield, MI

If your child needs additional help in grammar, writing, reading, math, or test prep, call The Tutoring Center in West Bloomfield today at (248) 432-7288 to schedule a free diagnostic assessment. Our one-to-one tutoring programs are sure to fit your schedule.

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